Nutrition Guide/Food Confession

Back at Carl's Jr. again. Sorry, there are little voices that I hear chanting "Carl's Jr., Carl's Jr!" and the path of least resistance looks like the way to go. My son even said he was willing to split a chili dog with me. I somehow feel less bad about going to CJ's, I mean their burgers are flame broiled, not fried, right. If you take a peek at their nutritional guide, you'll see it's not so great. On their website, they have a nutrition calculator, I typed in my meal, a Big Carl and a medium fry.(They no longer have chili dogs) The total calorie count of those two items is 1380 calories. Wow! And that doesn't include the fries that I picked out of my son's bag. Knowing this information has got me examining more closely what I'm ordering. In Portland, they're requiring some restaurants to post this information about their food on their menus. I noticed this when eating at a Portland Wendy's(please forgive me) a few weeks back. On the wall near the register was a list of all the nutritional information of every item that they sell. After a quick glance and rough calculation I reduced my calorie intake by half. No mayonnaise on the burger, a salad instead of fries and a coke zero instead of regular.
I'm already expecting to hear the comments about government telling restaurants how to run their business. You're right, I don't want big brother forcing a salad on me or deciding which ingredients I should have on a burger. But, I appreciate having the knowledge to make an informative decision. I chose the healthier option. Actually, I spent the same amount of money in the store as I would have if their was no nutrition menu. There was no loss in this situation, just a gain by myself for eating better and a gain by the restaurant for showing a customer that they don't just have high calorie items on their menu. In 2010, all big chain restaurants in Oregon will be required to post calorie totals next to prices on the menu. Will you be someone who looks at and considers this information or will it not make a difference in your life?


AMY said...

It's important that producers be responsible for informing people of what's in their product. I always wondered why, if you can it and put it on the shelf at the grocery that it has to have nutrition information but fast food did not.

Full service restaurants don't run a nearly automated and clearly defined system, and thus can't and shouldn't be expected to have the same level of specificity as, say, McDonald's or Olive Garden where everything is measured and normalized. Full ingredient lists would be sufficient. Calculating calories would be nearly impossible.

So on that theory, I'm all for mandating producers to label their food products. It's sad that government would have to mandate it; wouldn't it be so much nicer if that's just the way businesses wanted to run?

Will it make a difference at the counter, immediately? Probably not. But it can be one piece of a puzzle that leads to better informed people who can then make better decisions that fall more in line with their wants and goals in life.

Many people would be SHOCKED if they actually tracked their calories on a day to day basis. We fall for marketing. Many women eat "healthy" fast food options, and are shocked when they learn just how many calories or in it -- especially when a lot of marketing will tell you a calorie count for a salad without the dressing or add-ons, for instance. Lies by omission!

I don't want to restrict choices. But the information needs to be there, and people can use it as they see fit.

Lise M said...

I think we need to know what we are eating. If people are informed, maybe they will make better choices,which could also push the fast food joints to find ways to lower their calories. I tend to choose sit down restaurants who pride themselves on saying they use local or organic produce. It makes me feel better about what I knowing something about it. I am more wary of the restaurant who doesn't tell you anything. I don't want to get sick because a deli uses lots of oil to cook their "grilled" chicken or make their salad dressings. Whatever tricks or substitutes some places use can really make you sick if you don't normally put it in your body.

KandN said...

Despite what I hear people say about not wanting the government to get involved in telling restaurants how to do their job, I do believe that every once in awhile the industry needs a good sharp dope slap to knock a little sense into them. Seems like the only way real change can be made(in the consumer's favor)is through some kind of legislation.

Lise M said...

lol!! Give them a "Gibb's slap" of legislation. I smell a t-shirt coming on.

Anonymous said...

I think that for people who want to be informed, they can get online and find nutrition facts for most major chains (Burger King, Starbucks, Red Robin, etc). But this is not as easy as having the information in front of you while you're at the restaurant ready to order. For those of us without iPhones, anyway!

I track the calories I eat throughout the day and it has taught me a lot about what I do and don't want to consume. Knowledge is power, without getting too political. Government mandated or not, I dont care, I will either get the information on my own or they can put it out there for me. But I think it is a positive thing for a lot of people, people who don't know the facts, people who may try to eat healthfully by taking in a 1,500 calorie salad at Red Robin. Take care of yourselves. Enjoy life and food and you don't have to go overboard doing so :)

KandN said...

Before this latest push by the government, not every restaurant made their information available. One company that recently changed is Quizno's. Good news for the consumer!