As of September 2012, McDonald’s nutrition information is now displayed on the menu. They are a few months ahead of the federal health care law mandate that will take affect in 2013, requiring chains with more than 20 outlets (fast food or dine-in) to display the calorie information on the menus. The plan behind this law is to make the public more aware of the calories in food choices and to throw another punch at the obesity epidemic. Here is the new look you’ll be seeing at this fast food chain:
Some chains like Starbucks and Panera already have the nutrition facts displayed on their menus. I know for a fact that seeing the calorie content in the items has definitely made me rethink my order a few times. Even though salads seem like the healthier choice, that’s not always the case (read my experience on salad vs. pasta dish at Noodles & Company). I LOOOOVE the peppermint mocha from Starbucks, but if you know anything about liquid holiday calories, you know that a 16-ounce serving contains 370 calories, and that’s even after choosing skim milk instead of whole! The calories in some of the drinks can quantify for an entire meal, or two! Even if the calories are listed next to the food item, you may want to clarify what the calorie content is based off of. If you ask for mocha and forget to say “skim,” they may make it with whole milk and you’ll be adding an extra 70 calories and 9 grams of fat. Drink up.
One dollop of encouragement I’ll share with you is that although yes, when calories expended exceed calories in will lead to weight loss, choosing the lower calorie item on the menu does not make it “healthier.” If you take a look at the “300 calories or less” section of the menu, what do you think will give you more bang for your buck in terms of nutrition: a caramel mocha or an egg McMuffin?
You can read the details of McDonald’s commitment to a nutrition-minded future here.
Do you think this new law will help you make wiser choices when eating out?