A year from now when you dine out, you’ll be seeing just how many calories you’re ordering up with that muffin, salad or drink, thanks to the just released final FDA guidance for menu labeling. If you live in places like New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and California, you already see this information, but these new rules – part of the Affordable Health Care Act – are the first national standards for menu labeling.
The requirements mean that any restaurant, concession stand, bakery or other eating venue with 20 or more locations will need to post calorie counts on their menu. Other nutrient information, such as saturated fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, will need to be available upon request.
Some national restaurants have already started to do this. Enforcement for everyone begins in May 2016.
New regulations announced last week by the FDA mean you’ll now be able to see how many calories foods and drinks contain at your favorite chain restaurant. That’s potentially good news for cancer prevention because it can help help diners better manage their weight. But it also means you will need to know how many calories you’re aiming for in that restaurant meal.
Over the last few decades, health and nutrition have become national priorities, and at the same time, fast food restaurants been placed under the microscope, often being blamed for the current rates of obesity.
However, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the nutritional quality of menu offerings at eight fast food restaurant chains increased over a 14-year period (from 1997/1998 to 2009/2010). The researchers obtained ingredient and nutrition information from the University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center for all foods sold by the restaurant chains. The nutrition information was updated biannually during the 14 years.
Numerous public health strategies, such as government menu labeling regulations, are encouraging fast food restaurants to improve the nutritional quality of their menu offerings. Several fast food restaurants are also taking their own initiative to offer healthier menu options for you and your families.
And more than ever, many fast food restaurants are flexible and accommodating to customers regarding special requests. For example, I always special order my burrito by asking for “no sour cream” – and there is a button on the cash register for that exact request! I make almost all of my meals healthier by asking for these kinds of modifications. Read more… “Making Your Fast Food Nutritious: It’s Possible”
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