Starting Monday, all restaurant, grocery and convenience store chains with 20 or more locations are required to display calorie counts for all items on their menus to comply with a mandate from the Affordable Care Act.
Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who's been pushing for clearly posted calories on menus for years, says as more chains began adopting calorie counts, she began to see clear shifts.
Drewnowski said obesity rates in King County have been stable since 2009, not necessarily because of menu labeling.
"That may sound like a small amount", Gottlieb added. "It comes out to less than a cookie a day".
Nearly 37 per cent of U.S. adults are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rules apply to food sold by restaurants, gas stations, coffee houses and movie theaters. At the very least, Congress should monitor the effects of new regulations, like this menu labeling law, and amend or repeal them if (and more likely when) they prove to be ineffective, burdensome, and harmful to the well-being of our nation.
She says the FDA has been flexible with the industry, including efforts to clarify that promotional signs and flyers in stores are not the same as menus and don't have to include calorie information. After all, for health-conscious consumers, this data is essential in their decision-making process.
"However, there is evidence that labels do encourage lower energy purchases in other settings such as coffee chains, full-service restaurants, or certain fast-food restaurants". In Chile, for example, a recent initiative requires black warning labels to be posted on packaged foods high in calories, sugar, salt or saturated fat.
Many bigger food chains have already been practicing this, such as Starbucks and Panera, but now, there is hope that this new policy will have a real effect on improving American nutrition. No one wants America to become a vast waist land.
"Me, personally, it's not going to affect whether I get an item or not", said Douglas. "Ninety percent of our customers place orders online or over the phone". "Menu labeling isn't a silver bullet".