Will the calorie count on menus affect your choice of which meal to order?

A provision of the health-care reform law requires large chain restaurants to post calorie counts for items on their menus. Today’s Question: Will the calorie count on menus affect your choice of which meal to order?

  • Rich Nasser


  • Wade

    Most likely. Usually there are a number of options that I’m considering. I can see the calorie count eliminating a few options for me.

  • Dave from Edina

    Absolutely! I travel through New York all of the time, and they already require this. The calorie count on a menu in La Guardia airport cured me of my taste for the Starbucks crumb cake – over 700 cal.

  • Jackie

    It already has, I seldom eat fast food, but McDonalds has had calorie counts on its packages for awhile. They weren’t on the menu board, so I ordered something I would usually order, having no clue what the calories would be, once I saw how many calories were in my burger I no longer order that item.

  • Donna Kuhl

    Without a doubt. Every individual’s health is directly related to a community’s health.

  • Hiram

    What’s a calorie?

  • Kate

    Absolutely! I have asked for nutritional info at restaurants for the past several years. If they can’t provide it, I have stopped going to those restaurants.

    My husband needs to count his carbs carefully due to a medical condition. It is extremely difficult to get that information at some restaurants. We are hopeful that this law will change that as well.

    We just want the knowledge so our choices are informed ones!

  • Diana

    I did slightly base my order at IHOP off of the nutritional counts listed. Saying I was at IHOP, though, doesn’t say too much about my health. I don’t think posting nutritional info will stop people who go to specific places for specific dishes. Vices are vices for a reason!

  • Gary F

    Probably not.

    I already know eating out means too many calories and not always the right calories.

    When I eat out I don’t want food that’s good for me. I try to do that for all the other meals.

    The problem is that Americans don’t home cook meals and eat out at lunch more often.

    I choose not to eat out often because I have better ways of spending my money and it’s not good for my diet.

    When I do eat out, I want it to taste good and don’t care how unhealthy it is.

  • criley

    Absolutely! It will help my husband and me with the healthy eating/healthy lifestyle we are trying to follow as we get older. I read labels on groceries and calories on recipes — I will most definitely rely on the calories on menus.

  • Anna

    It won’t change what I order. It will affect how much of what I order I eat immediately and how much I save for later.

  • midas

    Maybe. But Like Gary F said, when I’m eating out I want to enjoy the meal. If what I want has a higher calorie count than something I don’t, I’m still going to get what I want. On the other hand, if I can’t decide what to get (which happens most of the time), the calorie count could be a factor in my decision.

  • Tristan

    As others have said I know that eating out means eating a ton of calories, but that’s not the whole story. I’d like to know precisely what the calories are coming from as this is more important for me.

    Something I never knew before starting to try and lose a little weight is that there are 9 calories per gram of fat, 4 per gram of protein, and 4 per gram of carbohydrates. I know this is on Nutrition Information panels, but never paid attention to it. If many of the calories are coming from protein I’m fine with it, but if it’s mostly fat and carbs I’ll avoid it.

  • Tom

    I dated a lady named Calorie… or was it Valerie????

    Not sure. Either way they both end up costing lots money.

  • Ann

    I have noticed the calorie counts at Panera, and yes, they did affect my choice of sandwich for lunch. I like having the info, and it may also prod the restaurants to alter their offerings to reduce those counts over time.

  • JAJ

    Yes! I appreciate having calorie and fat gram information readily available.

  • Jenny

    Yes, I love having nutritional information before I order. Many restaurants rely on adding fat and sugar to basic meals to make them unique, appitizing, or to allow pre-made food to seem fresh when plating. An order of spaghetti and tomato sauce may also contain 1/4 cup of butter so the noodles don’t stick together after cooking. Salads might seem like a great option, until you add the dressing which packs HUGE fat and calorie punch. Individuals hold most of the responsibility for their weight, but in order to ensure individuals CAN make the right decisions, they need the facts.

  • Shane

    No. If this was something the public really thought was a valuable service the restaurants would be doing it on their own.

  • Amanda

    100% YES! Knowing how much I am eating is important to me, and I would eat out more often if I knew I had healthy options.

  • Yes

    AS long as the information is based on a fedreal government standard.

  • Amy

    Probably. Unless I’m at a pizza place. Then all bets are off!

    I think this is a good idea though. As a consumer, I think it is just another valuable tool to watch what I eat. As a nation we have an epidemic on our hands with obesity, so hopefully this will give consumers more information and knowledge about what is being consumed.

  • SimpleSci

    For most people, Calorie Counts are meaningless. What really matters is the carbohydrate content of food. Fat is not the evil that most respondents imagine. The fact that fat has more calories than protein and carbohydrate is irrelevant. It’s what happens to these nutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrate) in the body that matters.

    These concepts are beautifully analyzed and explained by Gary Taubes in his 2010 book, “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It”, as well as in his earlier book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”.

  • Alison

    Absolutely! I already use the calorie counts to make choices in the restaurants that provide. Sometimes I’ll check online menus before hand if I know where I’m going to eat.

  • Tracy

    Yes! It totally affects the way I order at the places that already have the calorie counts

  • Jordan P

    Probably not, but then again i’m not watching my weight.

    Transparency and honesty is never a bad thing when someone is selling you something you’re ingesting into your body.

  • Rosemary

    Calorie counts would definitely affect my menu choices. I would appreciate having them.

  • bsimon

    “Will the calorie count on menus affect your choice of which meal to order?”


    For one thing, the info is already there, if you ask for it.

    I want to say a Culver’s double bacon butter burger, onion rings & whatever they call their variant of a large milkshake came out at nearly 2000 calories.

  • Christopher Bates

    Yes. Knowing the caloric intake of a meal would make me rethink what I am eating, and get a lower calorie meal.

  • Kevin VC

    It will likely NOT affect my food choices in any major way.

    But I am always a fan of seeing more information on food we are consuming. No harm there.

  • Tim

    It will make me think twice while ordering. I don’t think it will sway my food choice very often.

  • Dennis

    I’ve been wanting this for years – I’d definately avoid a food item if I saw that it’s calorie count was significantly higher than other items – when you don’t know, it’s easier to ignore the suspicion that it is a high calorie dish.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Would that it were true that more information would lead to better decisions! We’re kidding ourselves if we think it really does. Denial is a big factor, too.

  • http://www.newfilmreviews.net/ Alex Dovenbarger

    Your argument is valid, and it’s great how you have exhibited both sides of the issue. It could change the way this market operates, but it is worth considering the chance of even more change.