The FDA's New Calorie Labeling Rules

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Although the plan to implement new calorie labeling rules has been in the pipeline since 2010, due to several reasons it has not reached the implementation stage. The idea behind the new rule is that people eat almost a third of their calories outside their homes without a clue as to the calorie content of the food they are putting into their mouths. If they knew the donut they just bit into has 480 calories, would they still continue to chomp down on several of these donuts, each of which represents almost half of their caloric requirement for the day?

A high percentage of Americans are suffering from obesity and diabetes, and this has a direct link to the food they are eating. Most of this food comes from restaurant chains creating food items that are half a day’s worth of calories, and people are unaware of this fact. A bucket of chicken has close to 6,000 calories, and there are people who are eating such quantities of food every day.

The plan is to empower people by providing them information so that they can make sound choices where their health is concerned. The Food and Drug Administration has created these new calorie labeling rules as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. According to this law, every restaurant with more than 20 outlets has to include the calorie content of every item on its menu. The same rule applies to the menu boards in every restaurant as well. It also includes movie theatre snack stands, bakeries, and dine-in and carry-out restaurants as well as ice-cream and pizza stores.

In fact, even vending machine operators who have more than 20 machines will have to show the calorie content of each food item they are putting on display. Not only that, but the calorie label should also be clearly visible from the outside so that people know how much the product they are purchasing will set them back on their daily calorie budget.

Amusement parks are also going to have to follow these new calorie labeling rules according to the laws. The plan not only provides people the information they need to make healthier choices that allow them to stay within their daily caloric limit but also exposes the restaurants. It has put all the marketing gimmicks out in front of people. Now customers know a restaurant’s so-called healthy salad has 600 calories. They also know that the cheeseburger contains 1,200 to 1,800 calories.

What kind of a manufacturing process are these food items going through that makes them worth four times the calories of a cheeseburger made at home? These food items are usually fried and refried with loads of fat, sugar, and salt added to make them so tempting that one simply can’t resist it. This has forced the restaurant chains to come up with healthier, lower-calorie versions of their food items so that people will have healthier options from which to choose.