HEALTH WATCH: New Calorie Labels Federal Law Goes Into Effect Monday, But Will We Eat Less?

By  //  May 8, 2018

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FDA surveys show consumers make better decisions when calorie numbers are available

A new federal law went into effect Monday requiring that all U.S. restaurant chains with more than 20 locations post calories on menu items. (NPR image)

A new federal law went into effect Monday requiring that all U.S. restaurant chains with more than 20 locations post calories on menu items.

It’s something that some chains, including McDonald’s, has been doing for several years now. But is it really working?

The FDA reports that surveys show consumers make better decisions when the calorie numbers are available to them.

It’s also lead some chains to rethink their menu offerings in the first place. That’s something that Joseph Galati, M.D. thinks is important given that 1 in 3 American adults are obese.

“The root causes of obesity are poor food choices, excessive snacking, and large food portions. You can’t chance your choices, if you don’t know what you’re eating in the first place,” said Dr. Galati, who is the author of Eating Yourself Sick: How to Stop Obesity, Fatty Liver, and Diabetes from Killing You and Your Family.

A review by the Cochrane Collaborative, which analyzed several studies, found that calorie labels seem to reduce the number of calories people purchase by an estimated 50 calories per meal.

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