Calorie Counts on Restaurant Menus – What’s Your View?


Calorie Counts on Restaurant Menus – What’s Your View?

This new information on restaurant menus has people talking…

By Laura Carson Miller


My husband and I do our fair share of eating out.  Recently I noticed calorie counts on the menu at Taco Mac and The Palm. Obviously these restaurants couldn’t be more different, (we don’t discriminate), but both informed me of the calories of all my favorites including the Taco Mac Buffalo Chicken Taco at 453 per taco and The Palm Atlantic Salmon Filletat 790 per serving.

I made a frowny face at the sight of these numbers on what are normally very friendly and happy menus. I wondered why I was being forced to digest this information.

Turns out it’s the law.

Did you know that the showing calorie counts on menus is actually part of the Affordable Care Act? As of May 7, 2018, all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations must show calorie counts.

Because I am Pisces, the two fish swimming in different directions, my rational mind sees both of sides of this highly contested debate: yes or no on menus with tell all calorie information.  I’m thinking it would be more fun and even more impactful – if the menus read like a tabloid – Cobb Salad – 700 Nightmare Calories!!!! Laura Miller is seen exiting through the back door of restaurant X after consuming BLOCKBUSTER calories from Pinot Blanc, veggie pizza and gelato in Atlanta!!!! DAYS TO LIVE!!!

I have to admit that while I usually get my own version of the Taco Mac Buffalo Chicken Taco that cuts down a bit on the calories, I was considering getting one the flatbreads until I saw the calorie count! I decided my calories would be better spent at a real pizza joint and went with my old standby, the tacos.  It seems the pizza industry as a whole was very much against this calorie transparency and made its voice heard by lobbying against the implementation of this legislation. Imagine that.

And I’ll be honest, during my lovely meal at The Palm I did not enjoy seeing the numbers on the Half and Half, creamed spinach or their the salmon, as mentioned above.

Part of me doesn’t want to know all this when my aim is to go out and enjoy a delicious meal and a glass of wine (or two) at a restaurant. At Taco Mac and the like, I know I’m not there for health food and again, I’d prefer to be blissfully unaware. Let me live!

I do understand that we live in a society where obesity is a massive problem – no pun intended – and perhaps if people know how many calories they are consuming when they dine out it will help them to make better choices. Also the authors of this mandate hope it will put pressure on restaurants to offer more healthy fare.

What is your take? Do you want to be informed of the calories you’re ingesting when you go out for a meal? Or would you rather be in the dark and take your chances? I’d love to hear your thoughts via email at laura@lauracarsonmiller.comor on social media.

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