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Do You Need Calorie Count On A Restaurant Menu?

Armen Hareyan's picture
Calories and healthy food

Los Angeles County Supervisors proposed a new bill that will require restaurants and fast food chains to display calorie count on each meal next to its price. The bill will be considered by Los Angeles Board of Supervisors this week.

Los Angeles is the second biggest city in the US and it is believed to be the place were people are very attentive to dieting and exercising. However, LA Department of Public Health statistics show that people here are less inclined to maintain healthy weight than they are thought to be. For example, the number of obese residents has significantly (46%) increased during an eight year period of time from from 14.3% in 1997 to 20.9% in 2005.

Health officials are very worried about the increasing number of overweight and obese adults in the city. They are sure that people don't really understand how many calories they take with each milk and probably they will be more attentive to what they eat when they have calorie count available for each meal.

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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health wants the public to pay more attention on maintaining healthy weight and to understand that good eating habit and healthy weight are essential for the quality of life and overall health. Health officials have already applied several restrictions to food service providers to make sure that county residents are offered healthy food choices: city restaurants are forbidden to cook with trans fat, several fast-food restaurants are banned in certain parts of the city.

California Restaurant Association does not aggressively oppose the bill, but it's spokesman Daniel Conway expressed some concerns about it. He suggests that calorie count will not make people understand how important healthy weight is. He says that restaurant visitors don't want to be 'forced' to count calories every time when eating.

In fact "The California Restaurant Association has filed suit against Santa Clara County in an effort to stop a new requirement that chain restaurants include calorie counts on menus," reports Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal.

Whatever restaurant industry group says, the bill is proposed and if approved, it will offer restaurant chains to display calorie count either in menu along with prices, or in a separate booklet.

By the way, do you know how many calories you had today? See our story on Calorie Chart.