Posted by: Francis Koster Published: September 21, 2009

Placing Calories on Menus Leads 71 Percent to Order Lighter Food

Placing Calories on Menus Leads 71 Percent to Order Lighter Food

by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.

When the City of New York passed a law in 2008 requiring restaurants to include the number of calories in menu items right on the menu, 82 percent of those who visited the restaurant reported that having the additional information had an impact on their ordering. Of those who considered the nutritional information when they ordered, 71 percent ordered lower-calorie items, and 51 percent stopped ordering certain items.[1]

Many people do not know how many calories of food they are supposed to eat in a day, and how many calories are contained in the food they order in restaurants. For instance, a young woman’s daily recommended calorie intake is around 2,000 calories. Although she virtuously orders a Caesar salad for lunch, she may be astounded to know that those salads routinely weigh in at 1,200 calories – more than half her recommended daily calorie intake!

Since about 10 percent of all of America’s health care spending is linked to obesity, stories of successful interventions are important.

This intervention in the obesity problem has the support of the Medical Society of New York, and the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association.[2] 

This solution has proven so successful that at least 20 other states and municipalities either have, or are contemplating, similar legislation.

A good source of further information is the Center for The Science in the Public Interest, found at





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