Would you like nutritional information with that?

According to the folks over at KGW, there is currently a proposal requiring chain restaurants to include nutritional information on the menu.

I’ve got a couple of problems with this.

First of all, nutritional information is already available for just about any chain restaurant I can think of (warning – here be PDF’s). Why, in a matter of seconds I can wow you with numbers. A mondo chicken burrito at Taco Del Mar has 615 calories and 32 grams of fat, while a mondo pork burrito only has 24. A Whopper with cheese at BK has 47 grams of fat (but only 30 if you skip the mayo), and a large fries packs an additional 500 calories and 28 grams of fat. You can read all about it here. A Tillamook Cheeseburger at Burgerville will net you an incredibly tasty 630 calories and 40 grams of fat. Throw in a large order of fries and you’re looking at 400 additional calories and another 22 grams of fat. Oh sure, you could go healthy and get a chicken salad at Baja Fresh, so long as you skip the dressing. Or perhaps a Subway sandwich (34 grams of fat in a foot-long cold cut combo, but only 9 in a turkey, so long as you’re careful with the condiments).

And if you don’t have web access, most fast food joints have this information posted on a nice big board at your local location. The word is out on nutritional information, and it’s not hard to find.

My second problem is – what constitutes a chain, and why are mom and pops exempt? Fire on the Mountain has two locations – are they a chain now? And why is it important that a consumer have nutritional information listed on the menu at Rock Bottom (a chain), but not Urban Hopworks (not a chain)? Is their health less valuable at one place than the other?

Finally, this. I know when I go out to eat that I often make bad nutritional choices. I know that order of Carne Asada chips at Muchas Gracias is not exactly healthy. But sometimes, that’s kind of the point. If I’ve had a crappy day, sometimes an order of corn chips served with beef, sour cream, cheese, and a number of other bad things is just the remedy I’m looking for. I know where to find nutritional info on this stuff if I want it. I don’t necessarily need it waved in my face every time I want to order it – trust me, I’m hip to the fact that it’s bad for me.

And speaking of the mighty MG, word is that a new outlet has opened on 707 NE Weidler. Go there, eat a burrito, and fight the power!

2 Comments so far

  1. geocacher35 on July 17th, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

    I eat badly because I know it’s bad & it makes me feel good.
    I’m sick of government trying to save people from their OWN stupidity!

  2. clevergirl on July 17th, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

    The only "big chain" place I (occasionally) visit is Burgerville. While I really don’t care about the calorie counts (if I did, I would look them up online), I think it’s a bit much to have such specific information displayed on the menus. Why not the chemicals that most "meat" and "bread" and the like are laden with from large restaurants? Why not warnings about corn syrup and caramel coloring? I don’t think it’s going to change any habits – people are ignorant because they choose to be on subjects like this. I would be offended if this information were added to, say, the menu at Le Pigeon or Hiroshi.

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