Coming off our recent calorie discussion, this news seemed pertinent. McDonald’s recently announced that it will continue displaying the calorie count of every item on its menu. Because of new federal regulations, soon most chains will have to do the same. Presumably, the new law is being put in place to educate consumers and allow them to make healthier decisions.
In reality, I don’t know that it will make much of a difference. It’s certainly possible to be health and calorie conscious and eat fast food. All of the chains offer salads as well as lighter versions of sandwiches. While I was losing weight in college, I had a brief love affair with the Wendy’s taco salad. I also developed a hobby of looking up nutrition info for my favorite menu items at places like Burger King and Taco Bell. I figured out ways to work them into my plan.
The people who are interested in making healthier decisions are probably the same one’s who look up the nutrition info online. I dare say that most people heading to McDonald’s aren’t as concerned with how many calories they’re consuming.
The NPD group, a market research firm, did a study recently on the effect of calorie counts posted on menus. The study compared the orders of people both when calorie counts were available and when they weren’t. The difference between the two was small. On average the group ordered 1,021 calories worth of food when the calories were not posted. They ordered an average of 901 calories when they were. The study determined that most people who are going out to eat are looking to indulge and don’t pay too much attention to health.
When I hit up a chain that posts calories, I always take note and it certainly factors into my decision. But, I am also the type who finds it helpful to check nutrition information online before I go, so this doesn’t necessarily affect me.
When you go to chains where calorie counts are posted on the menu does it impact what you order? Also, what are some of your favorite healthier options at fast food places?
photo source: aka Kath