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Calorie Counts

Posted on 09/27/2012

Last week McDonald's began posting calorie counts on menus before required to do so next year. They have received much attention and applause for doing this. What do you think...will this help the average American make healthier choices when it comes to their diet? And, in turn, will it help improve their health? There's debate on both sides. 

But what is most surprising to me is that several studies conducted in New York and other areas who adopted calorie-counting menus earlier than the mainstream: people may notice the calorie counts on menus but, few use the information to greatly change their order. 

I was a bit shocked by those studies. I personally think more information the better! Why not provide calorie counts on menus? Let people make informed decisions about what they put in their bodies. After all, food is fuel for the human body. Why not put the best possible fuel in your body? People do that with their cars, but tend to neglect their health.

We here at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating have been transparent for a very long time. Prior to 2000, we listed nutritional fact panels on our poultry meals and around 2001 with our non-poultry meals...way ahead of time, as usual. We not only have calorie counts on our meals, but we also have the entire nutritional fact panel and ingredient list on each meal we search…in case you are counting, there are 105 different meals in our 5-week menu rotation. That's a great deal of analysis given we adhere to 1,200-calories per day plan or 2,000-calories per day plan. We also only serve meals that are low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium restricted. So, that basically entails quite a bit of number crunching to be sure we serve what people should eat. So glad we do this, because when I hear about companies finally doing what is right and what they should have been doing...makes me feel like I've done the right thing all along.

Back to McDonald's and other fast food establishments...with the new law kicking in, I wonder if we will see any significant drop in obesity as a result in calorie counts on menus. I am certain if someone eats at a fast food restaurant, he or she will most likely continue to do so. However, maybe they will choose smaller portions of the foods they regularly eat? That I suppose is a silver lining in this all. People may gravitate to smaller portions in our super-sized nation. That would be a very good thing, I believe.

We Americans have over the years, grown our appetites along with our plates, portions and expectations at restaurants for platter-sized food that should not be consumed by one person.

Menus with calorie counts in my books is a good thing. I am hopeful that we see a dent in our ever-increasing obesity stats in this country. 

If all else, maybe we'll see some people abandon fast food for good and begin to live a healthier lifestyle? That would be wonderful! I know we here at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating would welcome them with open arms.

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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