New York City is considering whether to require fast food restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.
I visited some fast food websites. These numbers are from data published by the companies, based on a 2000 calorie diet:
At Taco Bell, a #2 Grilled Stuft Burrito (beef) and Nachos combo contains 1010 calories before you consider the calories in the large drink. That's just over half the calorie allowance of an average person. Want to eat "light" with a salad? A Fiesta Taco Salad by itself contains 840 calories, 42% of the calorie allowance.
McDonald's calls their link to nutrition information "Food, Nutrition and Fitness". Try staying fit when a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese combo (large fries, two ketchup packets, and a large Coke) contain 1650 calories, 83% of the daily calorie allowance. If you tone it down to a Caesar Salad with Crispy Chicken, dressing, and a large Coke, you cut it in half to a still-unimpressive 800 calories (40% of the daily allowance). To be fair, if you use grilled chicken instead, you cut it by 10% to 720 calories. Get rid of the coke and you now have a much more reasonable 410 calories (21% of the daily allowance).
Would having calorie information on the menu affect people's food choices? Would it affect your food choices? It would definitely affect mine. And that can only be a good thing; this misleading headline shows a correlation between fast food restaurants and obesity: if live near a lot of fast food joints, you're more likely to be obese than if you live near a lot of full-service restaurants.
I would like to see all fast food restaurants take this a step further and make all nutrition information readily available to customers in the store (not just on the website). McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A do a great job at this; Subway does not. After all, diabetics need to monitor carbohydrates, and those with heart disease especially need to watch saturated fat intake.