Why some people are calling for an end to calorie counting on menus

Dining out in the United States has become a very different – ​​and often more stressful – experience for some starting in 2008, when New York was the first place to require any restaurant with more than 15 locations to display the number calories on its menus, according to Eater. California followed suit the following year, and in 2010 the FDA required it of any chain with more than 20 sites (this rule was not implemented until 2018, as noted above) . The impulse purchase of a fried chicken sandwich with fries from Popeyes, for example, can take on more significance when you realize that the meal can contain more than 1,500 calories.

While seeing the calories you’re about to consume can inspire feelings of dread and guilt, those feelings don’t necessarily translate to customers making healthier decisions when dining out. In 2015, for example, a study showed that since the introduction of New York’s menu labeling law, “there have been no statistically significant changes over time in calorie levels or other nutrients purchased or in the frequency of visits to fast food restaurants”. Additionally, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the obesity epidemic in the United States has worsened in recent years, with the number of American adults classified as obese reaching more than 40% for the first times in 2018, according to US News & World Report.