Failure: Calorie labeling on menus

A new study in the British Medical Journal reports that calorie labeling on restaurant menus has largely failed to reduce calorie consumption at fast food restaurants.

Only 1 in 6 adults paid attention to calorie disclosures. Those adults consumed, on average, 105 calories less than during pre-labeling gorging (Table 3). But overall, calorie consumption was not reduced among those surveyed (Table 2).

The authors conclude:

… Results from this study suggest that there is a positive effect of calorie labelling on energy intake at some major chains, and that use of the information is clearly associated with lower calorie purchases across chains. However, a clear reduction in energy intake across the full sample was not found. A strong research agenda is needed for nutrition interventions. It will be particularly important to assess the energy content of fast food purchases periodically as restaurant chains reformulate menu items or change their menu offerings in response to the national legislation. Systematic tracking of changes to fast food menus would also be useful, in terms of energy, nutrients, and pricing, to examine the industry response to policy requirements. Calorie labelling is only one part of a framework to address the obesity epidemic. Additional strategies are needed to reduce energy intake on a population basis. Special attention should be focused on educating consumers on how to interpret and use nutrition information…

Apparently, the food nannies aren’t going away. Their next step will be to teach consumers how to count.

6 thoughts on “Failure: Calorie labeling on menus”

  1. I think it would be better if they Put all the Things alcohol causes on each beer bottle,can,glass Etc……….Yesssssss I like the Warning they HAVE on ALL ALCOHOL…..”May cause health problems ” what a joke

  2. “A strong research agenda is needed for nutrition interventions.”

    Now that is scary. Translation: We need to get heavy-handed with the public to make them eat what we say is good for them.

  3. Failure is a good thing here. It’s better than if this measure was a success. The people should not be prescribed or otherwise influenced how they live. They should not be prescribed what or how much they eat. The measure obviously aimed on changing eating habits. That’s bad. That’s tantamount to damage. If the damage isn’t done, the measure is harmless. We need to welcome harmlessness and to prevent harmful measures.

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