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FDA hopes calorie counts will help Americans consumer fewer


Even if new federal rules requiring calorie counts on vending machines and restaurant menus do little to change the choices people make about food, health experts and advocates are optimistic that restaurants and manufacturers will change what they sell.
The Food and Drug Administration issued two final rules on Tuesday intended to shed more light on the food Americans buy. One requires restaurants that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations (PDF) to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards of the items they serve. That includes buffets, salad and soup bars, movie theaters, amusement parks, stadiums and grocery and convenience stores that offer ready-to-eat items. A second rule requires that similar information be posted on vending machines (PDF) operated by companies that own 20 or more of them.

Eating out accounts for one-third of Americans’ total caloric intake, according to the FDA. “Few decisions are as critical to our health and our daily lives as those involving the foods we eat,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg wrote Tuesday in the agency’s blog, FDA Voice. “With these new rules on menu and vending machine labeling, Americans can be more certain that those choices are informed ones.”

“Menu labeling provides an incentive for restaurants to reformulate their menu items and add new items with fewer calories,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Once people can see the calories, restaurants will have lots of new ways that they can change menu items to make them more healthful.”
The rules stem from a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that required restaurant chains to disclose calorie and other nutritional information for menu items.
The National Restaurant Association, the leading trade organization for the restaurant industry, has publicly supported the rules and says it help restaurants adjust to the new requirements, which are set to go into effect Dec. 1, 2015.
“We believe that the Food and Drug Administration has positively addressed the areas of greatest concern with the proposed regulations and is providing the industry with the ability to implement the law in a way that will most benefit consumers,” said Dawn Sweeney, the association’s president.

FDA hopes calorie counts will help Americans consumer fewer – Modern Healthcare

This is good news. Obesity is a significant factor in cardiovascular disesase and diabetes. All of us are affected by the health care costs incurred due to poor diets of many of our citizens.

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