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Multnomah County to Require Calorie Counts on Menus

counting food calories

In an effort to slow and perhaps reverse the trend of increasing obesity, Multnomah County (Oregon) commissioners have voted to require Portland-area chain restaurants to include calorie counts on their menus. The vote was unanimous.

Even though Portland has a reputation as a place with a population who is active with healthy lifestyles, the county Health Department reports that two-thirds of the Multnomah County residents are overweight or obese.

The vote on Thursday, Feb 12, will require restaurants to list the calories next to the food item in a font the same size as the menu listing, not in "fine" print.

It is hoped that by adding the labeling to the menus that diners will make healthier selections. Research has shown that most people who dine out are unaware of how many calories they eat. Has anyone looked at whether these same diners know how many calories they eat at home?

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Multnomah County's law will take effect on March 12. It makes them the third place in the nation to require restaurants and coffee shops to include calorie counts. The other two places are New York City and Seattle.

State Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, plans to introduce legislation that would require restaurant menu labeling throughout Oregon.

Whether eating at home or dining out it is important to remember that portions are an important aspect of calorie control. Even if there is no information about the calories on the menu, keep in mind these basic rules of thumb for serving size:

#Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
#Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
#Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
#Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
#Pancake is the size of a compact disc.
#Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
#Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The Oregonian
WebMD Portion Control