Ah, silly me. Last week I posted something about calorie counts on menus helping people make better choices. Turns out, they don’t matter; they don’t make people change their behaviors. At all.
NPR had a story on it Wednesday.
The study looked mostly at low-income parents and adolescents going to fast food places. The study found that there weren’t any real difference in purchases before the calorie counts went up on menus and after.
The lead researcher, Brian Elbel, told NPR that there are a number possible reasons, including the proximity of the restaurants to the neighborhood, lack of healthier food choices nearby, price, peer influence and the advertising directed at kids.
I read some of the readers’ comments after the story and they brought up some good points. For one thing, people going to a fast food joint for healthy food is like someone going to a strip club for ice tea, “Why would it surprise anyone that people who go to them aren’t too concerned with the labels?” (one reader’s thoughts).
I can’t argue with that. The only reason I’d be in a drive through at McDonald’s is because I want their stupid fries. Well, maybe seeing the calorie difference between a small and medium may sway me … but, I’m still going to order the fries, not the apple wedges.
Another good point from a reader was that the calorie counts need to be put into context for people. Simply saying something has 1,000 calories might not faze someone who doesn’t understand or know what the recommended calorie intake might be for an adult.
What are your thoughts on this?