So a guy walks into a (salad) bar… will a caloric-labeled menu alter what he eats?

Feb 17, 2011

When the health bill was signed into law almost a year ago, health experts hailed the new requirement that chain restaurants post calorie information on their menus as perhaps the greatest thing to happen in the nutrition world since sliced (whole grain, low sodium, sprouted) bread. “If only people KNEW how bad for them that double cheeseburger and fries were, surely they would make smarter choices!”—so went the logic of many a nutritionist. But the jury still seems to be out on how effective that information is in altering people’s food choices. So just before the government releases federal rules for restaurant menu labeling next month, do posted calories on menus make a difference? Do they give you pause before you order? Do they make you order something else? Or do you know what you’re getting yourself when you walk into that fast food chain; do you resent them? Are they more effective for the old than the young? Patt surveys the crowd and gets an expert’s take.

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