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Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

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Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Amyw » Tue May 11, 2021 2:11 pm

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ ... 1dd380f4f9

I know we briefly discussed this the other day on chatterbox but thought now it’s been made official , I’d make a thread

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Lusciouslush » Tue May 11, 2021 4:21 pm

Not for me I'm afraid - another 'nanny state' action! If I eat out ( fat chance ) I want to enjoy my food & order whatever I fancy not count the calories - & besides - anyone who counts calories has a damn good idea of how many they're eating - could probably inform the informers.....!

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue May 11, 2021 4:25 pm

I see they are only threatening to enforce for Big Food - more than 250 employees, which looks more possible though I wonder where it leaves someone like Gordon Ramsey (I'm sure there are others - Stein maybe?) who employs far more people than that but has high end flagship restaurants that serve a menu that really does change weekly or even daily and they may only ever serve a relatively small number of portions of a dish before they move on


I went to a fascination talk by Chris Whitty about the obesity epidemic, his idea was that it's not the occasional blow out meal that does the damage but being able to eat what you have and replace it, for those of us who can afford enough protein that is - there are different drivers for the impoverished

Take cheese for example - the recipe says 30g, but you have a 45g piece, so you you put it all in (or nibble it) rather than try to work out what to do with 15g of cheese tomorrow, it doesn't seem extravagant because the cost of 15g of cheese feels negligible.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Pampy » Tue May 11, 2021 4:29 pm

Lusciouslush wrote:Not for me I'm afraid - another 'nanny state' action! If I eat out ( fat chance ) I want to enjoy my food & order whatever I fancy not count the calories - & besides - anyone who counts calories has a damn good idea of how many they're eating - could probably inform the informers.....!

:clap :clap :clap Couldn't agree more!

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Earthmaiden » Tue May 11, 2021 4:43 pm

Good comments Sue.

The 250 employee thing will hit some who wish it didn't and miss a lot out.
I wonder if it includes companies (like Dominos for instance) who franchise their shops and where each franchise might have under 250 staff. It wont include some of the smaller sleasier-looking fried chicken type joints or even nice family run chip shops.

Calories on the menu are quite useful in chain places/takeaways I think because many people go quite often and the extras they all try to push add up too. I agree that if you're going out somewhere special that calories are the last thing on your mind!

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby KeenCook2 » Tue May 11, 2021 4:47 pm

Lusciouslush wrote: anyone who counts calories has a damn good idea of how many they're eating - could probably inform the informers.....!

I agree with you, although I do find it helpful to have all the nutritional info on virtually all packaged food - especially when OH was having a diabetic scare a few years ago.
And if there's a choice of two sandwiches that both appeal equally then I'll quite probably choose the one that has fewer calories.

The idea of calorie counts on restaurant meals implies that they're always identical, as well, which is certainly true for places like Wetherspoons, but not necessarily for other large chains that employ more than 250 people - but allow their chefs freedom to change the menus according to what they get in.

I think someone mentioned on the old thread that it could exacerbate the behaviour of people with eating disorders, but again, I'm sure that you probably already have an extremely good idea of what you "can" or "can't" eat.

And let's face it, we all know that sticky toffee pudding is not an ideal choice if you're trying not to put weight on :lol: :lol: You don't need to be told that one portion with extra cream has 900 calories or whatever :lol: :lol:

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby jeral » Tue May 11, 2021 5:31 pm

The first thing that strikes me is the extra cost that will fall on customers who probably won't read or maybe don't understand the relevance of calorie info. Or do understand and know that more calories fill you up for longer so would seek out higher rated dishes (assuming equal or similar cost).

A cynical thought is that restaurants could put down any number and who'll check? The food police? There aren't even enough tax-paid inspectors for hygiene checks so what a waste of all our money would checks on this be.

As to freedoms going, going, gone on a daily basis, what next? Will restaurateurs be forced to refuse service to obese people?

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Pepper Pig » Tue May 11, 2021 6:25 pm

It’s the perceived accuracy which would concern me.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Lusciouslush » Tue May 11, 2021 6:28 pm

Yes they will - there'll soon be a law against all people overweight - they'll call 'em Fat - not part of Society - a drain on the NHS - BEWARE ! :mrgreen:

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby karadekoolaid » Wed May 12, 2021 3:49 am

My first reaction to the thread is: " So what?" If I´m going to eat out ( and that might be anything from McDonalds, the local Chippie, a gourmet pub, or a high class restaurant), I´m not going to even think about "calories". In other words, the extraneous calorie information in the menu is going to get ignored.
Evidently, the government has finally realised that obesity is a big, big problem and they have to do something about it. The UK is the most obese country in Europe ( according to Wiki!!) unless you count Turkey. They rock in at #36. The next most "obese" countries are Hungary (#42), Lithuania (#43) and the Czech Republic. (#46). Germany comes in at #79, and France ( with all that cheese, cream and butter) at #87. So why are Brits obese? Is it the diet, or is it the serving sizes?
My youngest son lives in the USA and, about a month ago, he decided thay had to have pancakes for breakfast. They went to a place called IHOP - the International House of Pancakes. He and his wife shared a plate of " French pancakes" which came with cream and caramel - it was 1950 calories, just 50 short of a recommended daily calorie intake for a female (2500 for a male). He said the guy on the table next door had a plate of pancakes PLUS a Full "American" - 3 sausage, eggs, hash browns, etc. Did they look at the calorie count? Of course not.
My feeling on this issue is that they´re barking up the wrong tree, and it´s a far more complex problem than it seems. The USA, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and South Africa are all in the top 36. So are we obese because we speak English? :lol: Has the government looked at eating HABITS - ie. kids grazing on fast food all day long - or have they just looked at what each meal involves? Have they looked at plating portions? When I cook for an event, the serving size for any protein is between 125- 150 gms per portion, so I DO NOT serve 2 chicken breasts with gravy and two veg ( as I witnessed in a NY Diner) as a "portion". Has the government looked at lifestyle? In other words, do folks get enough exercise? Is it that our national cuisine is too heavy on carbs??
Absolutely no idea, really, because I´m not an expert, of course.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Pampy » Wed May 12, 2021 8:28 am

KeenCook2 wrote:I think someone mentioned on the old thread that it could exacerbate the behaviour of people with eating disorders, but again, I'm sure that you probably already have an extremely good idea of what you "can" or "can't" eat.

I think for people with eating disorders, the problem is a mental health issue rather than knowing what you can or can't eat, so the problem would be that their issues could be triggered by having the calorie counts staring them in the face.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed May 12, 2021 9:45 am

I think that’s why KC2 put “can” and “can’t” eat in inverted commas, the rules are self imposed as part of the eating disorder, not what the rest of us would consider real restrictions

Yes, a lot of the relevant professionals, and at least one recovering anorexic of my acquaintance, are very concerned about the possible normalisation of behaviour associated with eating disorders

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Badger's Mate » Thu May 13, 2021 9:46 am

I suspect calorie information must affect different people in different ways. As mentioned earlier, it has informed my choices in Wetherspoons. However, I pay very little heed to the nutritional information on packaged food. I used to get caught out by the traffic light business until the penny dropped that the percentages referred to the proportion of a particular parameter (calories, protein, carbs etc) in an arbitrarily chosen portion size compared to an arbitrarily chosen RDI. In the context of the traffic lights, '7% fat' didn't mean the product was 7% fat but that some unrealistically sized portion would contribute 7% of the daily amount of fat it has been recommended not to exceed. I will look at the percentages per 100g product but I doubt it modifies my subsequent behaviour. Portion control is an issue for us I think.

Does anyone feel strongly that this information on packaged foods has helped or hindered the cause of reducing the incidence of obesity or eating disorders?

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Earthmaiden » Thu May 13, 2021 10:02 am

I never look at the 'traffic lights' but often read the nutritional small print for carb, sugar, fat and salt content. Unless it's something I've decided to eat/cook for a treat regardless then it often affects my choice. It does annoy me when the amounts per 100g are offered and then you can't find the weight of the item on the labelling :evil:.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Pampy » Thu May 13, 2021 12:55 pm

I think the traffic light system can be very misleading. If you consume enough of most green light ingredients, they must surely eventually add up to become red light quantities?

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Stokey Sue » Thu May 13, 2021 1:18 pm

I’m with BM on only looking at the per 100g info, usually for something specific

The portion sizes can be very misleading - the portion size for cheese is nearly always 30g which is about right for many purposes but I have some halloumi for grilling in the fridge portion size 30g - not much of a burger substitute and not possible to grill such a scrap

My other “favourite” are those little airline type bottles of wine - individual servings right? No, most are quarter bottles, 187.5 ml, but the nutrition info is given for a 125 ml serving

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Earthmaiden » Thu May 13, 2021 2:14 pm

Oh yes, packets of things that most people would tend to eat all of in one go and the tiny print saying it holds two servings when the nutritional advice in larger print is for one :evil:.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby karadekoolaid » Thu May 13, 2021 2:39 pm

Does anyone feel strongly that this information on packaged foods has helped or hindered the cause of reducing the incidence of obesity or eating disorders?

My opinion? I don´t actually live there so it´s a bit tricky :D but the last time I was there (2018) I noticed a considerable number of obese folks - which may or may not be relevant! My BIL is grossly overweight, but I can´t imagine him ever bothering to look at a packaged food label. What surprised me was the number of teenagers wandering around the shopping centres or the High st, grazing on anything from burgers to doughnuts.
I´d imagine the labels/nutritional information is very relevant for diabetics, celiacs, people with severe allergies, vegetarians, vegans... and possibly foodies 8-) I look at the labels to see what the ingredients are, but never for any other reason.
As you mentioned, BM - portion control and education on how to eat healthily would appear to be where the powers that be have missed out. OR if they could come up with a plan as aggressive as the anti-smoking plans of the 80s and 90s.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby Earthmaiden » Thu May 13, 2021 10:38 pm

KK, whilst some are woefully uneducated re nutrition I think that the answer lies with foods on sale these days which are considered by many to be a treat. There's that magic triangle of salt, sugar and fat which, if doled out on just the right proportions becomes addictive and food chains and food giants have cashed in on it. Weaning people off an addiction isn't just a case of government warnings.

When you and I were young we didn't graze on burgers and doughnuts because they weren't available to eat in the street, we weren't used to grazing, eating in the street was frowned upon and we didn't have the disposable income for such things anyway.

The kiosk in our local park has been renowned for selling coffee, ice creams and small snack treats. Everyone was happy with it.New management is selling huge filled doughnuts dripping with icing and cakes top heavy with icing decorated with biscuits. People are flocking for the 'treats' and trying to stop themselves going back each day - some with young children.

I really think that it is unfair to ask people to exercise self control when the route to food addiction (made worse by so many living alone and eating comforting things for emotional reasons) is being dangled in front of them. By all means put calories on menus but to deal with an obesity crisis the government needs to address social issues and the availability of cheap empty calories which put pressure on the NHS.

Michael Moss's books/films on Salt, Sugar and Fat are interesting.

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Re: Restaurants to put calorie counts on menu

Postby karadekoolaid » Fri May 14, 2021 5:12 am

You might just have hit on something important there, EM.
I honestly don´t remember huge supermarkets back in the 60s and early 70s, but then I come from a fairly small town. Home-cooked food was possibly more common than take-aways as well.
In my town, there was a Chinese, a Curry House and probably a Wimpy´s. Apart from that I can´t recall anything particularly inspiring ( but then my town´s not particularly inspiring anyway :gonzo :gonzo )
"Treats" at the school "tuck-shop" included rock cakes... :shock: scones , cup cakes (which we called buns) with a bit of thin icing on top, and doughnuts,which were filled with jam. No toppings. And certainly no Coca-Cola - school milk and orange squash.
Even when I moved to London at the beginning of the 70s, food was, basically, straightforward. I got to love the kebab places, China town and a much wider variety of international food ( A Thai restaurant in Kensington, and the glorious Borscht & Tears :lol: ) BUT -No mega-sugar rushes. no Cinnamon Roll franchises. No triple-cream/buttermilk pancakes slathered with sugar syrup.
And once I left in 1981, I lost track and could only judge by what I saw every 4-5 years, when I came back.
A social problem, however, it certainly is. Without education, nothing will change.

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