Will Calorie Labeling Produce Venti-Size Success?

Calorie Labeling postCalorie labeling is the latest summer treat.

Health reform’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) is coming to your fast-food restaurant.

It’s true.

ACA requires chain restaurants with 20 or more U.S. locations to put calorie information on menus.

Even the drive-through menu.

You may have already encountered the calorie counters. Is the super-sized dose of reality working?

So far, it appears to be a mixed doggie bag.

Calorie Labeling Consumption

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a shot at the regulations in April of 2011.

The final regulations have been as slow-moving as a clogged artery.

According to a recent article in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), the targeted release for the final regulations may be as early as summer 2014.

(I wonder if the authors remember summer is officially over September 22, 2014.)

The JAMA article also shared results from various studies on the effects of calorie labeling.

The illustration below reveals conflicting results.

Calorie Labeling Studies

Calorie labeling Infographic-Post


As illustrated above, full-service chain restaurants with calorie counts on menu showed a difference.

  • With calories on menu − lower calorie items ordered
  • Compared to the chain’s restaurants with no calorie information

Interestingly, fast-food chains showed no connection between labeling and the calorie content of the meals ordered.

  • 828 calories before labeling
  • 846 after labeling

The article’s authors point out that the reason for discrepancy could be “the diverse methods used and settings investigated.”

As calorie labeling becomes more common, we should have a better idea on how effective the information will be in changing behavior.

What do you think?

  • Have you seen the calorie counts on menus?
  • If so, did the information have an effect on what you ordered?


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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.

BigStock Photo Credit


  1. says

    Perhaps it is the denizens of each establishment that sets the course.
    Just like I have heard a certain percentage of readers fail to completely read the books they purchase, when my limited data indicates that is more a function of the tested reader (in this case, Kindle purchasers, who may buy books for different reasons that conventional readers) …
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.´s last blog post ..What does it take?My Profile

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