Now That Calorie Labels Are Federal Law, Will We Eat Less?

Showing total calories in food can make consumers more conscious of their health

Created under guidelines set forth by the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the law requires grocers and restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie counts for their menu items, and is meant to offer a federal alternative to the state- and city-specific provisions that have cropped up across the country in recent years. On Monday, the rule requiring chain restaurants to post their calorie counts went into effect.

This regulation will apply in chain restaurants and retail food establishments with more than 20 locations, so you'll find calorie information whether you're eating burgers at a fast-food place, grabbing a salad from a grocery store salad bar, or ordering pasta at a chain restaurant.

WITHIN days, chain restaurants and grocery stores nationwide will have to comply with a high-cost, low-value Obamacare menu-labeling mandate.

Americans typically get a third of their calories outside the home, so federal regulators have been working for almost a decade to help consumers understand what is in each breakfast muffin, afternoon hamburger or evening dessert and make healthier choices.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, American's eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home.

"I think there's a lot of consumer shock". The report's authors said better research is needed, especially since most studies on menu labels are conducted in labs, not in real-world settings. At the very least, Congress should monitor the effects of new regulations, like this menu labeling law, and amend or repeal them if (and more likely when) they prove to be ineffective, burdensome, and harmful to the well-being of our nation.

ABC News added that opponents say it's a process that's a huge waste of money, and some sectors of the industry say it's almost impossible to offer accurate information.

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These may seem like small changes, but having information about the food you eat is now more important than ever before. The intuition is that a consumer may already be leaning toward a cheeseburger before getting a chance to consider the calorie information, thus minimizing its effect on what he or she orders. "But over a year, based on that sort of reduction, you could end up consuming 10,000 to 20,000 fewer calories, making you three to five pounds slimmer".

"I just eat what I want to eat", said one 30-something man, who declined to give his name, as he ate a bagel (300 or so calories) with peanut butter spread (250 calories).

"All we are asking for is common-sense approach to put this information where people are. and we believe the internet is where people are going to go to get this information", he says.

And that 50 or so calories per meal?

The FDA said it will be working with restaurants over the next year to help change their menus.

Studies have found that calorie labelling can reduce the amount a person consumes by 12%.

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