Part of the Affordable Care Act requires that restaurants with more than 20 locations post calorie counts for their regular menu items right on the menu. Some chains, like Starbucks and McDonalds, have already posted their calorie counts in anticipation of the mandatory labeling even though the FDA hasn’t set a firm date for the requirement to begin.
According to a Carnegie Mellon study, having the information about calories doesn’t affect most people’s choices. The Today hosts gave the details and asked each other if calorie counts influenced their decisions.
It's not really a surprise that most people don’t allow the calorie counts to influence their choices in restaurants. They ignore what’s in print, and they eat what they want.
Maybe, as I’ve speculated before, if people had to actually say the number of calories out loud when they order, it might make a difference. It’s easy to ignore the number on the menu, but if the Starbucks cashier couldn’t take your order without you saying, “I’ll have the 300 calorie Venti Caramel Macchiato,” perhaps you’d order the 180 calorie Tall instead.
As calorie counts become more prevalent on menus, do you think you’re ordering will be influenced by what’s in print or will you be able to push it to the back of your mind?
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