Calorie Counts Coming To Restaurant Menus

Whether you’re a student of online culinary school programs or simply someone with a passion for good food, the odds are considerably high that you like to have a firm knowledge of what you’re putting into your body. Information surrounding the nutritional facts of what we ingest is pivotal to those of us dieting, cooking for individuals with dietary restrictions or for anyone on specific fitness plans. That said, determining the nutritional information of some of our favorite dishes has long since been an issue for those who frequently eat out at restaurants. This may no longer be an issue, though, as NBC News has reported that the Food and Drug Administration will now require restaurants to post the caloric information for all of their dishes on their menus.

The specifics
In what many advocates for widespread transparency of nutrition facts are calling a major victory, the FDA will require caloric counts to be published on restaurant menus beginning near the end of 2015. Propositions lobbying for more widespread nutritional labeling have been rampant in the FDA since as early as 2011. Those calling for the labeling have argued that the absence of this information at restaurants leads to poorer nutritional habits on the part of all Americans. Further, they pushed for this measure to also affect establishments that one would typically not take into consideration when thinking of their caloric intake. For example, The Des Moines Register has indicated that movie theaters, amusement parks, chain restaurants and even ice cream shops will need to make this information public on their menus. The idea behind the new guidelines seems to be ensuring that people don’t write off their funnel cake or extra large popcorns as non-harmful.

Other agency involvement
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the FDA was not the only group lobbying for caloric counts and nutritional information to be posted. The American Cancer Society advocated heavily for the new guidelines, arguing that they are very strongly linked to one of the leading causes of cancer. In a statement from the Society’s Cancer Action Network, a branch of the organization aimed at political lobbying, president Chris Hansen summated how this might help prevent cancer in the future.

“Between one-fourth and one-third of all cancers are caused by poor nutrition, physical inactivity and excess weight,” said Hansen in his statement. He went on to add that pairing these measures with education initiatives aimed at teaching Americans how to use the nutritional labeling to make decisions about their diet could be highly beneficial to our nation’s health.

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