Thursday, January 24, 2008

NYC passes law for calorie counts on menus

Passing a law to require calorie counts on menus isn't going to do a whole hell of a lot of good to end an obesity epidemic that really doesn't exist. Especially since it doesn't apply to every restaurant in the city. It only applies to those who have more than 15 locations nationwide. So all those local restaurants, that have one, or maybe two, locations don't have to do this. I'm sorry, if you're going to require this of fast food restaurants, I think it should be applied to every restaurant, no matter how many/few locations they have, across the board.
On the pro side, NYC Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, obviously: "Obesity and diabetes are the only major health problems that are getting worse in New York City," he said Tuesday. "Today, the Board of Health passed a regulation that will help New Yorkers make healthier choices about what to eat; living longer, healthier lives as a result.

Ok, I have a couple of big problems with this. Obesity is not a health concern, it's not a disease, it's a variation on a body theme that people have little to no control over. They say it's to help people that are fat and/or diabetic. Well, I have news for them. Calorie counts don't do a whole hell of a lot to help diabetics control their blood sugar (and controlling blood sugar is what keeps diabetics from getting those nasty complications as quickly as they would if their blood sugar wasn't controlled). What diabetics need to see on menus are carb and fiber counts. I don't know about other fast food places, but McDonald's has all the nutrition information that you find on boxes in grocery stores on their boxes that food items come in (like french fries, McNuggets, chicken club sandwiches, etc). So if DH and I decide to eat at Mickey D's, we can look on the box and see how many carbs and how much fiber he's getting and know how his blood sugar is going to react to it. I don't give a rat's ass about how many calories are in what we're eating, I care about carbs and fiber. THAT'S what I want to see listed.
On the con side was NYRA spokesman Chuck Hunt, who noted: "It's been done in supermarkets for 13 years. Has it worked? Has obesity declined?"

Ummm, no, since this obesity hysteria is pretty much manufactured to sell more weight loss drugs/diets/surgery. You can put the information out there, and people will use it IF they think it's important to them.
Others called it nanny-state administration at its worst, or said consumers had the responsibility to use a little common sense when it came to their meal choices.

Since when is it a moral imperative that consumers have to use common sense when it comes to meal choices? Whose business is it what people eat? And just who in the hell gets to decide what common sense about meals is? Who sets up the standards and how the fuck are they going to enforce them? Police state? Yeah, riiiight. The government can't afford to repair/replace our deteriorating infrastructure, they can't afford to extend Medicare/Medicaid to all the poor people who really need it, but they can afford to enforce laws designed to regulate what we eat and how much we weigh and how healthy we are? Don't make me laugh.
I still say that every rat bastard out there who wants to force every fat person to lose weight needs to have their height, weight, and BMI published for the world to see. I want to know how many of those asshats are overweight and obese according to that damned BMI standard by which they hold the rest of the world accountable. Then I want to see them say that anyone who is overweight or obese, according to BMI, needs to diet or get WLS. How many of them would fall into that category and how loud would they be screaming if it was pushed on them and they were bombarded with all the fat hatred? How many of them would be saying "But I'm healthy, and I'm fit, so my overweight/obese BMI number doesn't really mean anything"? Sure, it doesn't mean anything for them personally, it just applies to everyone who isn't them.


  1. It's total classism. They're not making Peter Luger's list the calorie counts of all their steaks, are they? Like a 28-ounce Porterhouse swimming in butter is "health food," either.

    It won't make a damn bit of difference in anyone's weight, either. It's not like people who care about calories don't already know the counts of everything, and people ordering fries one size down when they do order them is not going to make them thin. (They can only dream about people ordering salads instead of fries, har har. Salad is not going to keep you full for an 8-hour shift, guys, sorry.)

  2. Exactly. If calorie counts matter to people, they already know them. If they don't matter, posting them isn't going to make one bit of difference. I know quite a few people who could care less about calories, they want tasty, filling food so they can do their 8 or 12 hours at work. And like you said, a salad just won't do that.

  3. Why do you have a problem with this? No, everybody doesn't know the calorie count of foods served in restaurants. I would like to know--especially for bullshit stuff like "turkey burgers" that are way fattier than they pretend to be. If you don't care about the calories, don't look at them. Or look at them and make your choices. I prefer the latter, but nobody is forcing you to eat or not eat food based on the counts. Easy consumer information is always a good thing.

  4. Linda - I have a problem with this because only certain types of restaurants are being singled out by this law. Like I said, if they're going to pass a law that restaurants have to list the calorie counts on menus, it should be ALL restaurants, not just fast food joints. And it should be more than just calorie counts, I want to know carb and fiber counts so DH and I can make good choices when we eat out. Not knowing carb and fiber counts makes it damned difficult to control his blood sugar, but they're pushing this damned law as a way to end a manufactured obesity epidemic and cure diabetes. It ain't happening. All that information has been on food labels in grocery stores for years, and a lot of people use it, but they're still fat and they're still diabetic. You can't cure something that isn't a disease (being fat) by mandating information, and you can't cure diabetes by making people thin (there are thin diabetics and I'll bet they would love to know that being thin will cure them......NOT!). I'm sick and damned tired of any sector of government thinking it knows what is best for me or anyone else. All of this fat-phobia is not about health, it's about lookism (they think fat is ugly) and selling more diets/pills/surgeries so they can make money off our body insecurity, which they have been feeding for year after year after year. And none of their damned "solutions" work to make people permanently thin.

  5. I can't imagine what a trigger this would be for a recovering anorexic. This new regulation is worse than useless -- it could be fatal.

  6. vidyapriya - that's another aspect of it that I forgot to take into consideration, thanks for mentioning that. It could indeed be triggering for people recovering from EDs.

  7. A diabetic who wishes to maintain a healthy blood sugar and a HgbA1C less than 7 needs to know the carbohydrates, fiber and fat content in each food they eat. (A high fat content means that insulin needs to be given over a longer period of time if you have a pump.) As far as the calorie count goes, I'd like to see a complete nutritional fact sheet on foods served everywhere, not just fast food chains but prepared foods in grocery stores and other non-chain restaurants and eateries as well. I like having all the facts, and when you have all the facts, the consumer can decide what he/she wants to do with those facts.

  8. "On the pro side, NYC Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, obviously: "Obesity and diabetes are the only major health problems that are getting worse in New York City,"

    Good to know we've found cures for Cancer and AIDS. Wait, we didn't? Yeah, Obesity is far from the only major health problem here.

  9. Meowser - mmmmmmm porterhouse swimming in butter!! I so want steak now. And you're so right - with a salad you're hungry again way before your shift is over - fries it is :D

    I'm not sure how they could really do an accurate calorie count in most restaurants - the dishes vary day to day with the ingredient availability and the chef. This is a whole lot of Gordon Ramsay/food network watching here - IMO it would be pretty hard with food that's bought daily locally and cooked to order as opposed to a standardized mash like you get at McDonald's. Chefs don't usually measure every teaspoon of oil or anything else; they keep tasting as they cook and adjust accordingly. A calorie count would be rather meaningless if someone who's calorie-obsessed is worried about 3 or 400 calorie variations in a meal, which they would be.

    Laws don't usually make much sense, and this one is no exception.

  10. In general, the government has no business in forcing privately owned establishments to do ANYTHING. We, as the consumers, can choose whether or not to support a particular restaurant- if knowing the nutritional information of the food that I eat is a necessity for me, I won't go to a place that doesn't make it available.

    That being said, it isn't so bad to know...

  11. Vesta44. I can't believe how skewed your thinking is on this subject. Who wouldn't want more information on what's going into their mouths? Whether your fat, skinny, or in between?
    I agree that this law should be applied to every food establishment not just franchises. I guess their reasoning is that it's easier to enforce this law when you're a national food chain instead of a mom and pop restaurant. Bigger restaurants=bigger fines.
    Manufactured obesity epidemic? Hate to break the news to you but it's real. I'm a teacher and the number of kids who are carrying over 50 lbs of excess weight is increasing. Hurts to see so many kids on a road to an unhealthy and unhappy life. I
    Meowser, "They can only dream about people ordering salads instead of fries, har har. Salad is not going to keep you full for an 8-hour shift, guys, sorry." You're right. But maybe two salads will.

  12. Alexander - I wouldn't have a problem with making the information available if it was just so everyone would have that information. But it's not, it's being pushed so TEH FATTIEZ of the world will know just how much they're overeating and making themselves OMG FAT!! Like we don't already have it shoved in our faces every fucking day how fat we are and how we're killing ourselves with how much we overeat. It's okay for the skinnies to be pigs and lazy, but if you're fat, you'd better by gawd watch every calorie in every bite you eat and be able to prove you aren't a glutton. Ya know what? It's none of anyone's business who eats what or how much of it.
    And if we're supposed to be watching the calories, eating two salads to be full enough to do an eight hour shift isn't going to do it (two salads at McDonald's is anywhere from 520 to 800 calories, without dressing). Not near enough fat in any of them to keep you satisfied for any length of time. Not to mention, all fat people are told to eat 1200 to 1600 calories a day (or less) to lose weight, which just totally works.......NOT!

  13. I want to say give alexander a slight break - he was drunk when he started posting all this stuff, and he's just lost a lot of weight, so that smug attitude that accompanies fresh weight loss is still, well, fresh.

    Alexander, I hate to break this to YOU but that weight? If that's your body's natural weight? Is going to come back, plus interest. Within 5 years. Unless you are an aberrant freak of nature, in which case we will all be very interested in studying you.

    Also, Alexander, stick around a little bit, because you are going to learn a hell of a lot reading these blogs. The key is to listen first, and do your research. And when you are fat again, these people will be here to help you deal with that. Really, they aren't all ready to keel over from heart attacks ;)

    Those kids in your classrooms? Leave them the hell alone. There's nothing wrong with them; and I'm sure your evangelistic attitude about dieting has to creep through. Don't let it. Dieting is the worst thing they could possibly do to their growing bodies.

  14. Ironically, I'm eating a salad while reading this :D Been craving it for days. This one has Catalina dressing and last night it was Ranch. Not "lite" either - ugh. And some beautiful feta cheese crumbled on top - mmm. Unfortunately I'm still hungry for something filling, but I'm assuming my body wants some veggies right now so I'm accommodating it. It's delicious :) However, thanks to Meowzer I totally want some french fries too :P But I don't have any and don't feel like peeling and cutting right now. Maybe my son will make them for me. He's an awesome french fry maker.

  15. I do salads as an appetizer to a meal. Salads just don't seem to stay with me very long if I eat them as a meal (I'm hungry again in an hour or so).

  16. My weight at my heaviest was 295. I'm 5'8 with a medium build. Perhaps if I was 6'8 I'd consider the notion that 295 could be my natural weight. But with my height, 295 was killing me. From sore knee joint pain and the occasional hip pain, I was putting too much stress on my body. Despite that I still had blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar readings within the "normal" range. But what good does it to have normal readings if I woke up with joint pain. I didn't want to change, I had to.

    I've kept the weight off for over a year now and I haven't gained any back. Sorry to disappoint you but I don't plan on regaining what I've lost. I don't count calories. At last not anymore. But I do make sure to eat healthy and exercise. Those two things have to go hand in hand in order to be successful. When I first started my "diet" I couldn't jog. I tried to but the shin splints I received sidelined me for weeks. So I just walked. Slowly. After the first 50 pounds came off I was able to jog. It was hard.
    I still enjoy the occasional cheesesteak and milkshake. drool....but they're the reward at the end of the month and not lunch and dinner.
    I love my students. I don't preach to them about healthy eating. Nor do I treat the heavier ones any better or worse. I don't blame them. I only wish the best for them.

  17. Oboe - no one who loses weight on a diet plans on regaining it. Come back in 5 years and tell me you've kept it off, without starving yourself and exercising like a hamster on speed. I'm sorry, I've dieted to a fare-thee-well and managed to gain weight even while restricting calories. Hell, I had WLS and regained weight afterwards and I wasn't able to eat much at all, or keep it down. Correlation is not causation, so you can't say that fat causes joint pain (could be arthritis or fibromyalgia, to name 2, and neither of those are caused by being fat).

  18. I'm sorry to hear that your attempts at losing weight haven't succeeded. I hope you don't think I'm boasting or looking down on you or any of your readers. I come here to learn. And I have.
    If you don't mind me asking. What kind of weight loss surgery did you have?
    I exercise about an hour a day. Half of which is lifting weights and the other half is spent on a rowing machine, it cost me 900 big ones, but it was worth it. No stress on my knees when I use it. I do this at home. I can't stand gyms. It's funny how a workout that supposed to take an hour stretches out to 2 or 3 at the gyms. Having to wait for machines or sitting through a 20 minute conversation with an acquaintance who doesn't know how to shut up.

    There's also the jiggle factor. I was self-conscious of how I looked while exercising. But now I don't have an excuse to not go to the gym. It's 5 feet from my bed.

    As for your correlation causation theory, I can only go by my personal experience. I don't have a study or an article to reference. After the first 50 came off, I stopped feeling pain in my hips. After the next 50? No more pain in my knee joints. And after the last 25 came off? I was able to walk on water. Just kidding about that last one.
    It's been a year this January since I reached my goal weight. I haven't felt a twinge of pain in my joints.
    I'm confident I'll be able to remain healthy for the rest of my life, now that I know how. But we all do die at the end don't we? I'll keep posting and I'll honestly let you know if I gain or maintain weight.

  19. alexander - I had a VBG 10 years ago, almost 11 now. My nurse practitioner recommended it because I have arthritis in one knee (it runs in our family, both sides) and it was aggravated by all the falling I did (every time I fell, I landed on that one knee). She said that at my then-weight of 350 lbs, no surgeon would even consider a knee replacement (and she was wrong about that, I've since found). She refused to do anything further for me when I told her the pain pills weren't working any more (ibuprofen , naproxen, and voltaren). I had the VBG (my best friend also had it and died from it), lost 70 lbs, and started regaining when I ripped out some of the staples from vomiting all the time. I went up to 392 lbs, probably within a year of the surgery, and was in worse physical shape and more pain that I had been originally. I've since gotten married, DH is type 2 diabetic, and we eat low-carb to help control his blood sugar. I lost 10 lbs between Feb 2007 and Dec 2007 (not sure when the loss started, I hadn't been weighed in the intervening time), and then I've lost another 5 lbs between Dec '07 and Jan '08. I'm not doing much for exercise, just the warm-up exercises from my yoga dvd, and some exercises using Pilates bands (maybe a half hour 3 times a week, total). I've given up on being thin, I've never been thin (at my best, I weighed 175 lbs, which was still considered fat, though I doubt most people would have said so looking at me). My metabolism is screwed all to hell from prescribed speed to lose weight, from phen-fen, from other diets I tried, and from the failed WLS. So I concentrate on eating the best variety of foods and doing what exercise I can with arthritis and fibromyalgia. It will have to do. I'm not going to obsess about it anymore. I'm done with trying to meet an ideal that was impossible for me to meet from the day I was born (take a look at my pic slideshow, you'll see what I mean).


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