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