This past April, New York City mandated that chain restaurants must post calorie counts on their menu. Ever since they were posted, I’ve wondered if it has changed the way people eat. I know that, for myself, I’m much less likely to pick up a sweet snack to go with my tea from Starbucks when I can see how many empty calories I would consume if I ate it.
I took an informal poll of my coworkers to see if their eating habits have changed, and here’s what I discovered:
- Most liked seeing the calorie counts of different foods
- They also noted that they were more likely to go for a healthier option once they saw how many calories were in the more indulgent dish
- One person noted that calorie counts give her the same reinforcement of good habits as a food diary – she makes better choices because she would be otherwise embarrassed to admit to herself that she ate too much or ate something unhealthy
- A few people said that they sometimes worried about what other people in line or behind the counter would think of their eating habits if they ordered a pastry instead of a healthier choice
What about you? Have seeing the calorie counts changed the way you eat? If you’re not in New York or another city that posts calories on menus, how do you feel about your food choices when you know the calorie count or have it posted in front of you