Today I want to talk about something very interesting to me - the fact that restaurants are now putting nutritional labels on their menus. The Food and Drug Administration has new regulations requiring calorie information on restaurant menus and menu boards and on vending machines. You can read all about the regulations HERE.
"Calorie labeling on restaurant menus and vending machines can help you make informed and healthful decisions about meals and snacks."
When I first heard of this concept a long time ago in my deep ED days, I thought it was great! Let's all make healthy, wise and informed decisions when eating!
But now my opinion is a little different. Why?
Because the average person has no idea how many calories they should be eating in a day, let alone in a meal. They have no idea what protein, carbs and fats are. That number means NOTHING to them.
But to the young girl battling an eating disorder, that number means EVERYTHING to her. That number can make or break her day. That number represents how much she should workout later. Or if she should actually order what she WANTS to order. That number takes away intuitive eating from her. That number ruins her eating experience. That number runs through her head and it won't stop.
The FDA goes on to say...
Why Are Calories Important?
Calories are important in managing your weight. To achieve or maintain a healthy body weight, balance the number of calories you eat and drink with the number of calories you burn during physical activity and through your body’s metabolic processes. Consuming too many calories can contribute to a variety of health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Follow this simple tip to size up calories when comparing and choosing individual menu and vending machine items:
OKAY. Saying 100 calories per serving is MODERATE and 400 is HIGH is a HUGE GENERALIZATION and it makes me so mad. People need to eat calories and what matters is how much they eat over an entire 24 hours period.
When I go to McDonalds and order something, the LAST thing I want to see is the calories because I'm trying to re-gain my relationship with food. I'm trying to steer away from numbers and nonsense. You CAN be healthy without counting calories. You CAN be healthy eating McDonalds or fast-food every once in a while. If anything. This is making eating disorders harder to recover from. When I see that number. I get scared.
What are your thoughts on this new regulation? How do you feel when you see how many calories are in your meal?