Monday, April 4, 2011

Calories in Neon Lights

Yes, it is good news for the nation's waist line to have calorie counts listed on menus. Granted the rules will apply to less than 50% of the eating establishments across the U.S. and exempt movie theaters, hotels, airplanes and amusements parks. None the less, progress is progress. Right? Maybe....

For the record, I support the idea of listing calories on menus. Last August, I opined Every Little Bit Helps and those calorie counts have impacted my choices when in New York City. If they don't impact your choices you are either in full denial or are making a choice to indulge (the latter is good for you, in moderation... the former, please seek some help).

Here is the problem: Food manufacturers can reduce the number of calories in nearly all processed foods by manipuating the ingredients. Trust me, the manipulating is far worse for your body than the calories. The manipulating takes the form of fake, chemical additives created in a lab or taking what was a natural food and destroying its natural properties until the calories are reduced (along with all manner of nutrients and benefits).

So this new regulation while great in theory (as are many things), in practice we'll see two things:
  1. More highly processed, fake foods lower in calories and devoid of any nutritional benefit (which will make our body crave more food because we aren't being fed, only stuffed, and people will actually gain more weight)
  2. Smaller portion sizes
Do not think, when the burger you habitually order is suddenly 300 less calories, that the food Gods are shining down on you to make your life easier. Either the burger is even less real than it used to be, or it is several ounces smaller than it used to be. Option  #2 and some normalization of serving sizes is a good thing. Option #1 not so good.

The only way to combat such shenanigans is to stop eating processed foods. We support Real Food. Is it really too much to ask?

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