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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Counting Calories at Restaurants

A few months ago, we blogged about the New York City health department's effort to curb trans fats and salt. According to the Wall Street Journal, New York is also one of several cities that require restaurants to post nutritional information about the food they serve.

Based on surveys conducted at fast food restaurants, the city's health department predicts that "menu labeling will reduce the number of obese New Yorkers by 150,000 over the next five years, and prevent 30,000 cases of diabetes."

As the article points out, however, it's not quite that simple. The city found only one restaurant that displayed nutritional information prominently--Subway--and the restaurant's advertising already focuses on calorie-counting. That may have skewed results.

Then there's the question of accuracy. Even at a chain restaurant, the same meal can be prepared differently at different locations, altering the calorie count.

So does nutritional information guide your choices? Would it make a difference at your favorite restaurant? Let me know what you think.

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