Do you take calories into account when eating at restaurants?

McDonald’s says it will begin posting calorie counts on all its menus starting next week, and will offer new foods like egg white McMuffins and more seasonal fruits and vegetables. Today’s Question: Do you take calories into account when eating at restaurants?

  • Gary F


    McDonalds, the Holiday Station store breakfast sandwiches, the burrito at Chipolte, beer now served in a 55 gallon drum at some bars, the reuben sandwich and fries, fish and chips, Jucy Lucy’s, salads loaded up with tons of stuff on it, fettuccine Alfredo, pie after the meal, the massive omelets and breakfast offerings at most diners.


    I’ve lost 38 pounds this year.

  • Steve the Cynic

    No, because counting calories doesn’t work. Avoiding high-glycemic carbs does.

  • JEB

    Yes, I do factor in calories and choose menu items based on that information. However, that is only half of the picture. I focus on calories and nutrition, i.e. where do my calories come from and how much tinkering and doctoring was done to create the final product? Also, calorie counts aren’t always accurate based on the cook, the size of the egg or patty of “meat” or vegetables used, etc.

    I remain skeptical about McD’s providing healthier food. What do they have to do to classify it under the FDA and USDA rules of “healthy”?

  • Jim G

    Yes, I look at caloric content, but I really pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates I consume because of an inherited predisposition for developing Type II Diabetes. Even with regular exercise it’s hard to eat at restaurants and stay within my daily limit of carbs. In a perfect world the restaurants would post all nutrients including carbohydrates for each item. It’s a good effort, but falls short of supplying the information this consumer needs.

  • Ann

    Yes, I do. I don’t like many things in restaurants. They put tasteless, high fat cheese on everything.McDonald’s has offered many healthy options for many years. They used to offer the McLean burger, wonderful low fat bran muffins, and soft serve yogurt. Many years ago they even tried carrots in Iowa.I love the many things like radishes, cucumbers, beans, and beets at Old Country Buffet. I like high calorie food if it is good, but I don’t like greasy food and can’t tolerate all their foods with lactose.

  • leonard

    This whole question is from misguided ideas of childhood obesity. The true cause began in the late 1960’s when schools were told to cut back on active sports, no more playing tag at recess because someone might___ might___ get carried away with the fun and go bump. Check your schools and see how much time is allowed for daily recess. How many kids have any physical chores to do after school? Compared to the pre 1960’s very few do unless they work on a farm but now we have the nanny state telling farm families they can’t allow their kids to do any manual labor on the farm..what’s next? Some Mayor ordering no more large beverage cups??

  • GregX

    No. I eat based on actual hunger and activity level. If I’m in a restrant with friends and I’m not too hungry – I might just order a salad. but… if hungry and haven’t eaten a lot that day – maybe steak and desert. I think too many people are trapped by calories at a restrants because they eat “on the clock” regardless of how hungry they really are and how thoughtful they are about what they’ve already eaten and how active they have been. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. ding, ding, ding … eat doggy eat.

  • Cara

    Nope, calorie counts listed in restaurants don’t matter to me because I almost never go to them. I’d rather cook at home to save money, create something out of my vegetable garden and eat healthy. I do love a good cheeseburger though!

  • Sue de Nim

    Read Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. Calories are irrelevant. What makes people fat is too many easily digestible carbs, which prompts your body to produce too much insulin, which prompts your fat cells to grow, which makes you hungrier, so you eat more. I’ve been restricting carbs for a while now, not counting calories, eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full, and I’m losing weight and feeling better.

  • David

    I look at numerical values of protein content, and the types of carbs and fats. Also, the overall freshness (including smell and taste) of healthy and nutritious real food right for my blood and dosha type (as well as my idiosyncratic and daily/seasonal needs) is of basic importance… affordability is as well of course.

  • Tom

    No. I avoid rapidly degradable carbohydrates, never go hungry and keep my body weight within a reasonable range.

  • Lawrence

    I don’t take calories into consideration, but calories intake isn’t the biggest problem: getting adults to eat sensible balanced meals, supplementing those with the occasional “feast and/or dessert” is the problem. Scientists have said since I was 5 that 3 small meals a day with fruits, vegetables, some dairy, and protein, will keep the body lean and ward off health related diseases. Adults become addicted to certain types of food by drinking too much things like pop, or using the excuse “not enough time” to run through McDonald’s, or by not having enough money at all to buy the veggies that balances out the diet. Before Europeans took to the seas in the 1400s, the world had feasts a couple times of year, but after that they ate quite a large helping of crops because beasts were both food and farming machine, and their time was spent tending the farm from sun up to sun down, thus limiting the amount of bad food to eat.

  • Joel

    I don’t eat out much, and I don’t pay much attention to calorie counts when I do. The only times I’ve asked for the nutritional value info at a fast-food place have been when I’ve been on a long bike ride and found myself “running on empty” and still a long way from home. Unlike most people, however, I was looking for something high in calories.

  • Linus

    Seriously? MPR posts an inane question about obesity issues while our country is attacked, consulate on fire, one dead ambassador and three other Americans and all MPR can muster is a banter from Michelle Obama who once said, ” Our greatest threat to America is obesity.” I suppose she missed hearing news about the real world, while her husband missed the daily security briefings/ Or maybe its because we have a President, an absent leader, that does a Vegas fund raiser the day of the news that we were attacked in Libya. But MPR wastes our time with such a stupid irrelavant question about a nany state mayor who wants to control what we can consume to avoid obesity?? reallY? Reallly? Does MPR see Americans as all within the IQ range of 70-85? i.e., below average.

  • Kurt Nelson

    Since I am gluten intolerant, intolerant, I always make sure I ask for extra gluten, and lactose too.

    On this I agree with Leonard, kids are fat because they don’t exercise, or know how to have fun outside. They are very proficient at nofriendo, but when asked to actually do some physical activity, they beg-off and go back to their phones. What is learned as children, moves into behavior as adults, sedentary couch surfing, with big gulps and chips – now that is the key to staying fit.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Lighten up, Linus.

  • Leonard

    Do you take calories into account when eating at restaurants? Did our personnel in Libya worry about calories to make Michelle Obama happy or Mayor Bloomberg content? This is why half of MN is so out of touch with the world and unaware of failed policies of our leaders_ we have discussions on calories?????? Seriously, when ever Obama’s polices fail, or when gasoline hits $4.00 a gallon o and food prices rise, or Obama’s boys use Solyndra to waste a half billion dollars or when Sandra Fluke gets used as a prop to make up some war on women to earn DNC backed votes, because she says she is a poor law student who can’t afford her own diaphram or BC pills without tax payers paying for her sexual activity. You want to see war on women? Look at the Islam Sharia law and Muslim Brotherhood control, something our own administration won’t say one negative word, but they then invite their Brotherhood leaders to the White House while ignoring our main ally Israel. he can fund raise in Vegas during a crisis while our Embassy is attacked and he can’t meet with Israel?

    WHERE IS OBAMA’S OUTRAGE about the deaths in Libya? His outreach to Egypt and Libya has done nothing but show America as a weak failing country.

    OBAMA is not on our side_ he funds our enemies, excuses the Brotherhood and gives billions to them. meanwhile his wife is concerned about obesity and calories. Passing out flyers for ACCORN his whole early life does not_ make_ for the requirements to be a President. MN Jews and our own military that can read and think, are not supporting another 4 years of 5 trillion added or under and unemployment at 16% At this rate, calories in food will seem pretty silly to discuss when we see the likes of riots in Greeece, as inflation hits and unemployment keeps rising. Calorie this.

  • Leonard

    Hey Steve the Cynic_ Lighten up? Obviously you have no clue about war or the world events, Islamic radicals organized at least 48 hours beforehand, they used their attack to celebrate 9/11 and we did nothing to prevent that. Obama played golf and fund raised instead. When your kids are over seas fighting for the USA, then maybe you will see what an ass you are by writing, ‘ lighten up” Why don’t you get off your laptop every day and do something to support our freedoms or is that too hard for you? If you are disabled, then I give you a pass on joining to serve your country. Until then, go visit Arlington graves and then get a clue on who allows you_ to have freedom of speech, even when you write such progressive radical ideals as somehow mainstream thought.

    MN votes Democrat because they have no clue. Visit any school and ask the teachers on any policy or world events_ they can’t answer, but they know their calories intake and union contract pages by heart. The others say they vote Obama because” they like him” not because they know of any of his policies or that he doesn’t even attend his own intelligence meetings half of the time_ too busy doing comedy shows. Minnesota can not lead in education when our own teachers are 90% clueless but they do know their calories.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Yes, Leonard, lighten up. Why does every TQ have to be deadly serious? I have to wonder about the mental balance of folks who take every discussion topic as an excuse for making hot-headed political rants. I thought it was a good idea for MPR to wait a day or two to ask a question related to those embassy protests, so responses could be better informed. Too many folks go off half cocked as it is.

  • Wally

    Well, I don’t exactly calculate the calories, but I want a lot of food. I love all-you-can-eat buffets. I really miss the Atlantic Buffet and Mongolian Barbecue down in Bloomington which was turned into a silly sushi bar.

    And my BMI is 19.1. If you’re going to eat, you gotta work or work out.

    And I don’t do McDonald’s.