Fast Food Chains To Post Nutrition Info

America is one of the fattest nations in the world, and our kids are tipping the scales, too: one-third of American children are overweight or obese. We’ve talked about preparing nutritious meals and fun ways to get moving, but making smart choices becomes tricky when you’re on the road or crunched for time. Good news: restaurant chains are making it easier for consumers to know exactly what we’re stuffing in our mouths.

Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court voted to uphold President Obama’s health care plan, which requires all food chains with more than 20 locations to post nutrition information. Starting Monday, McDonald’s will post calorie counts at locations nationwide. Chains such as Subway and Panera are already on board, too. McDonald’s is also testing new, healthier menu items including an egg-white McMuffin on a whole grain roll. The chain now includes apple slices in Happy Meals and recently rolled out a “Favorites Under 400” campaign that spotlighted lower-calorie choices.

But will it make a difference? We asked Parents’ adviser David Ludwig, MD/PhD, Director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Knowing the calorie content of a fast food meal is certainly a step in the right direction,” he says. “However, when it comes to obesity prevention and overall health, quality matters. A 100-calorie pack of junk food isn’t healthy simply because it contains only 100 calories. In addition to calorie count, consider also what’s actually in that fast food meal before placing the order.” When possible, eat fresh ingredients prepared without added fat from deep-frying. But when you do reach for fast food, use this info to make smart choices.

Share your thoughts: will knowing the nutrition information change what you order at fast-food joints?

Image: Boy with fast food via Shutterstock

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  1. by Barton Amlin

    On October 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I agree entirely with every little thing you’ve got said