Calorie Listings Required In Philadelphia

Listen up fellow Philadelphians!  The City Council of Philadelphia, a city ranked as one of America’s fattest, has finally passed a law requiring chain restaurants and retail food establishments to list calorie counts.

As of this coming Monday, February 1st, chain restaurants and retail food establishments with 15 or more locations nationwide will be required to list the calorie counts for foods on their menus.  Starting April 1st, they will also be required to provide information on the saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates, and sodium content of the menu items.

There is much speculation as to whether this will actually induce people to eat less calories.  A study done in New York City, the first place to mandate calorie listings, showed that calorie listings had little effect on consumers.  So will the listings be enough to bail out Philadelphia from being one of the fattest cities in America?  In short, probably not.  Calorie listings won’t be required for mom and pop restaurants or individual restaurants, which often serve higher quality food than chain restaurants but that is often just as fatty and calorie-heavy.

However, hopefully it will be the first step in bringing awareness to just how unhealthy the typical fast food/chain restaurant meal is.  While I almost never go to a chain restaurant, I am happy to see that now if I do decide to venture to one, I’ll be able to use the listings to make wiser decisions.  As obesity continues to become a pressing and prevalent issue across America, hopefully citizens at least in the city Philadelphia will actually start to use the information placed right in front of their face to make healthy food choices.

Along with Philadelphia, New York City, California, Oregon, Maine, and Massachusetts have also passed menu labeling ordinances.

Would calorie listings keep you from ordering certain items off the menu? Do you use eating out as an excuse to splurge and allow yourself to eat whatever you want?

Take a look at some of these astounding nutritional facts from some of the nation’s top chain restaurants.

McDonald’s: Cheeseburger with medium fries = 680 calories, 31 grams of fat, 43% saturated fat, 41% sodium

Subway: Foot long chicken bacon ranch sub = 1080 calories, 50 grams of fat, 100% saturated fat, 60% cholesterol

KFC: Chicken breast with side of mashed potatoes and gravy = 1,160, 59 grams of fat, 75% saturated fat, 57% cholesterol, 140% sodium

Chili’s:  Boneless buffalo chicken salad with a side of their famous chili with cheese = 1,370 calories, 90 grams of fat, 130% saturated fat, 168% sodium

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  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 8:45 am

    It is sad, but many people still have no clue. Since I have studied this in school and I can estimate pretty well using the rpemise of the diabetic exchange lists, my mom and others will contact me when there is a contest or something where they are like estimate how many calories are in this piece of cake or in this pizza or something. For me it is fun and like a game since I try to see how close I can get based on basic nutrition information. I hope the restaurant labeling helps, but I still think we need to start with the basics. We can put labels there but if people do not understand what they mean or how to read them it seems like a waste of money.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I never even go to these places.. so I don’t even know! I know its high though. I know NYC requires calories to be listed which I loved when visiting there.

    Aw Grace! I can’t wait to come see you in Philly! Maybe when the weather clears up… 😉 Its such a pain to do anything in this kind of cold!

  • Reply
    Fit Chick in the City
    January 31, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Congratulations to Philly!!! That’s great news!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I think that in the long run listing calories on menus will have an impact on many people (but certainly not all; some will always order what they want). I think the NYC study was done fairly soon after they started the program, and I think sometimes it takes a while for people to make changes. If they see over and over how many calories they are eating, hopefully they’ll make some changes…. I don’t eat out much, but I always try to look up calories and nutrition facts online before I go. My big concern in addition to calories and fat is always sodium. It’s insane in so many items!!!!

  • Reply
    Lily @ Lily's Health Pad
    January 31, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Honestly, I don’t want to know calories when I’m eating out! Having all that info could drive you crazy. When I want to splurge, I never look at calorie info. It definitely ruins the fun.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I think that is a great move! I think knowledge is power but would like to see more things taught about a balanced diet.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    We have this in NYC and I love it!

  • Reply
    Teniah Howell
    January 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I for one, think this is fabulous!! Maybe people won’t like it at first, but it’s one step closer to helping people make informed decisions about the food that they intake. People have GOT to wake up and start caring about their bodies and the outcome of heating so poorly…..I hardly ever eat out, but if I do, I always go for the most healthy food choice I can find – so I would find the nutritional listings incredibly helpful!! – Thanks for the blog, and yeah for all of those out there who DO take the nutritional information seriously!!

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    January 31, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Yay! I think this is wonderful! I know from the few times I’ve been in NY, seeing the calories definitely has an influence over what I choose!

  • Reply
    Jenna @ Health and Happiness
    February 1, 2010 at 12:53 am

    It’s about time! And I hope that this becomes mandatory for everywhere in the U.S. I think it is the responsibility of the business to educate their consumers about what their products contain. Great post!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Great post. I think building a greater awareness as to the nutritional composition of foods is important, so this is definitely a step in the right direction. However, I’m not sure if it is the best method to curb unhealthy eating habits in Americans. People typically either want to make a change, or they don’t, but we do need to support an environment where making this change is easier (such as requiring labeling, increase access to nutritious foods, etc). On this note, if you’re interested in a real wake up call to what is really in the foods we eat, try Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Nutrition aside, it will certainly make you think differently about what you’re eating when you’re eating at these chain restaurants!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I am so interested to see how this affects consumer choices…or maybe I should say IF it affects consumer choices!!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2010 at 2:24 am

    That sounds great for Philadelphians! I would love to see calorie listings at the restaurants I go and I believe many people are aware of their choice of food. Very interesting post!!!

  • Reply
    Naomi (onefitfoodie)
    February 2, 2010 at 5:44 am

    i rarely eat fast food, I hate it so I acutally take that back and say i NEVER eat it. BUT once in a while if I am in a rush or airport and need something to eat I will hit up subway, but never mcdonalds or burger king. This is so great for philly!!! I think its such a great thing when places start posting stats because then before you go there, you can go online and see the healthier options!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I really, really hope the federal government requires the calorie thing. I love places like panera that decided to post calories on their own. Here’s the weird story from Nashville where I live:
    City council passed a bill where calories postings were required. State decided they would require calories. City says it’s going to just wait and let the state take care of it. State republicans kill the bill. So now we’ve got no calorie postings. What good does that do anyone??

  • Reply
    February 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I just came across your blog and I love reading it!
    I would love it if you could check out mine and follow 🙂

  • Reply
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    subway calorie
    December 20, 2011 at 9:43 am

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