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The 1,360-Calorie Salad

The 1,360-Calorie Salad

You are a healthy shopper. You check nutrition labels, choose organic produce—when it’s not too pricey—and make sure to hit all of the food groups before making your way to the checkout. But what if you were visiting one of your favorite restaurants (which also serves your favorite chicken à la wonderful) and on the menu you discovered glaring, bold letters pointing out that your top choice is setting you back a good 1,500 calories?

That would be a bummer. Or would it?

Since this spring, New Yorkers have not had much of a say in the matter after becoming the first city in the country to require chain restaurants to display calorie counts in food items. The kicker? The calories must be posted in the same size font as the price. Many restaurants have tried to fight it, but the city continues to uphold the law and will fine violators up to $2,000 starting Friday.

New Yorkers are torn. Some say they are happy to know the truth and others wish they could just order their calorie-laden foods in peace. But New York City health officials are hoping the new labels will help reduce obesity, prevent diabetes and encourage healthy living. And they are not the only ones—new laws in Seattle and California’s San Francisco and Santa Clara are expected to hit the menus later this year.

A few menu shockers include:

*Dunkin’ Donuts Corn muffin (510 calories) and chocolate chip muffin (630 calories)

*Starbucks Raspberry scone (470 calories) and 610-calorie cookies.

*T.G. I. Friday’s Pecan-crusted chicken salad has 1,360 calories for . . . a salad?!

So, here’s our question (OK, questions) for you: How do you think restaurant calorie labels would affect your eating and spending habits? For example, do you think you would decide to eat in more often? And to all of you New Yorkers, what changes have you begun to see in your food choices? [MSNBC]

Posted: 7/16/08

When I saw the calorie counts at Coney Island's Nathan's, I was really thrown. Sure I knew hot dogs and fries were bad for you, but to see the concrete numbers--whoa!

  • By aliciak
  • on 10/2/08 1:21 PM EST

I do feel as a US citiizen we have the right too eat as we want. But on the other hand I do feel obesity in the US is out of control especially with our children. As a health care provider it starts with the parents and their eating habits. I do also understand the time constraints with 2 family incomes and parents spending less time at home meaning our children and also us adults do not eat healthy foods. I prefer to "yes" have calories posted on menus. It does make you rethink your stragety of going out to eat versus home cooked meals.

  • By kjclem
  • on 7/17/08 11:03 AM EST