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
I saw this interesting article from the NY Times‘ health section: a study shows that residents of older neighborhoods (e.g., ones that were built decades ago) are less likely to gain weight. It points to the fact that you can walk to places – like stores – in older neighborhoods.
I grew up in an older town that had a main street several blocks from my house. As kids, we used to walk down to “town” or ride our bikes there. Of course, we were going to town looking for candy, but at least we were getting out and walking towards it instead of having mom drive us to it.
It’s no secret that food portion sizes have grown exponentially since the mid 20th century. Here’s a great article that shows the differences in portions between then and now. For example, check out these pizza slices:
Pizza, 20 years ago – 500 calories Pizza, today – 850 calories
In New York City, fast food chains must now post calorie counts next to each food item on the menu. This is somewhat of a controversial measure that has been protested and debated, but I think it’s important that people know what they’re getting themselves into when they have that craving for the extra-large supersized meal. I have to admit that I made some different choices after seeing calorie postings right next to the foods I desired.
This disturbing report came out a couple of days ago: traces of prescription drugs have been found in the drinking water supply of 28 cities. That includes New York, which has always claimed to have exceptional water. I’m disappointed and now concerned about drinking out of my own tap. I’m considering getting a reverse osmosis filter – I hear that this is the only way to get all of the impurities out of your water.
Articles about the story: