Food Is Not Your Enemy

Calorie Postings Don’t Change Habits, Study Finds

You know those calorie postings in fast food and chain restaurants in New York? A new study, reported in today’s New York Times, has shown that they don’t work so well. In fact, the people studied– residents in poor NYC neighborhoods with high rates of obesity–have consumed more calories since the calorie info went up.

What to make of this? The takeaway is that cheap food trumps nutrition.

“‘Nutrition is not the top concern of low-income people, who are probably the least amenable to calorie labeling,’ said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit health advocacy group in Washington.”

This is no reason, of course, to dump this program. More information, rather than less, is a good thing. The problem is that the cheapest foods are also some of the unhealthiest. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone in the Bronx could walk into a restaurant and order a shrimp, vegetable, and soba noodle stir fry off the dollar menu?


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