New US regulation takes on obesity, orders menus to list calories

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The ruling was passed as a part of the Affordable Care Act and was originally meant to roll out in 2015, but faced strong opposition from smaller regional chains.

After years of delays, an Obamacare rule targeting chain restaurants officially took effect Monday.

But Allen, a 48-year-old IT security specialist who did not want to give his full name, said he had memorized the calorie counts at fast-food chains.

Gottlieb said national menu labeling could make a difference in US obesity rates.

Corporations against any further transparency may now have leverage; by implementing the new national calorie law, they'll be better equipped to argue, "Well, we did our part".

Foods served at sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and restaurant-type foods in certain grocery and convenience stores. "Looking at before to after [calorie] labeling, we've seen a significant decrease in the calories of pastries at Starbucks", Wootan told us.

There will now be greater consistency in menu labeling, as businesses that are required to post labeling will now have one nation-wide set of requirements to meet that will no longer vary from state to state, or even city to city.

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We were able to test whether this effect was really about the order in which consumers read the calorie information in a follow-up study with Hebrew-speaking Israelis, who read from right to left.

The National Grocers Association echoed this sentiment, noting that the regulations would be among the costliest the supermarket industry faces, with an estimated $1 billion going towards testing, signage, employee training and other measures.

More of your favorite restaurants are publishing the amount of calories each food item has on their menus as of May 7.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said she's pleased with the law, calling it "a positive impact from a low-priced public policy".

The FDA mandated all large chain restaurants to list calories on all menus and menu boards, along with nutritional information, like fat and sodium levels. "I don't do any of the carbs", she said, as she dashed out of the same Chipotle in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Domino's, which pushed hard against a one-size-fits-all approach to labeling, said it provides calorie counts on its website because it gets the vast majority of its sales online or over the phone.

"About one third of the total calories consumed by Americans come from foods prepared outside the home - clearly, knowing how many calories are in the foods you buy has never been more
important", Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said.

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