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Drawing the line on calorie labels

An article on Ezra Klein's blog about the new calorie labeling requirements (the nutshell is that people generally appreciate the labels but so far it's not changing eating habits). But it ends with this guy:

I did find one customer who had noticed the calorie labels: Dick Nigon of Sterling, Va. He and his wife, Lea, had stopped by McDonald's after seeing an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery. Dick had ordered for the couple, noticed the calorie labels and liked them.

"I like that you have the information before you order," he told me, when I asked about the labels. "It's better than some kind of government health mandate in Obamacare."

I told him that the calorie labels were, in fact, a government health mandate in Obamacare.

"Well that changes things a bit," he responded. "I thought this was more of a voluntary sort of thing. Now I'm not quite sure how I feel about it."

He and his wife talked it over a bit -- she eating her grilled chicken sandwich, him eating a Big Mac -- and didn't come to much of a conclusion about whether this was a good idea.

"The government does do certain things to make us healthy," Dick said. "But you have to draw the line somewhere."

You have to admire the honesty of the guy. I think we all have to admit that our opinions are influenced by where something comes from. Heck, i'm more likely to decide i like a comic book if i already know it's by a writer i like. We're all tribal animals. But I would probably do a "Huh, well i guess i have to give him credit for this, at least!" type of thing if confronted with something like that. Not this guy.

Also of interest, a commenter links to another article saying the labels are having more of an effect on the restaurants than the customers.

By fnord12 | September 25, 2012, 1:07 PM | Liberal Outrage


unless you have an idea of how many calories you should be limited to in a day, reading a label that says this is X calories doesn't have much meaning. and i don't think most people really have an idea of how many calories they need to intake to equal what they're expending.

the government should draw the line somewhere around the point where taxpayers are carrying the ER visits made by people who refuse to stop eating french fries and donuts as staples.