Remember when we thought that mandating chain restaurants to post calorie counts would make a difference in people’s eating habits? That was the line of thinking when New York City and other major cities around America passed similar laws.But now that we are one year away from the implementation of mandatory calorie labeling at major restaurant chains nationwide, there’s one major catch: It doesn’t really work.
New York University researchers believe that mandating visible menu calorie counts does not actually do much for our health. In short, we may be appalled at the astronomical amount of calories in our favorite menu items (honestly, how can a Caesar salad be so unhealthy?), but it won’t impact how we order or eat our food.
Researchers tracked purchases at Wendy’s, Burger King, and KFC locations in New York, where calories are posted, and New Jersey, where calorie postings are not mandated. Researchers found that New Yorkers on average, ordered between 804 and 839 calories per meal, essentially the same as the 802 to 857 calories that New Jersyians favored.
Researchers also reported that just over one-third of survey participants even noticed the calorie count label changes, and approximately nine percent of participants utilize the information to make healthier, better-informed choices.