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Calorie-counting: U.S. Restaurants Now Mandated to Reveal Caloric Information

Gone are days when you can walk into a diner chain and eat greasy fast food, completely guilt-free. In compliance to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, food chains with more than 20 outlets are now mandated to disclose calorie count information on their menus and/or similar materials.

“Better health” is part of the proper food labeling agenda.  And before we conclude that this movement is all pros and no cons, let’s take a look at myths and facts related to calorie-counting.

girl hamburgerFact: Calorie-counting helps you keep track of your eating habits

When you start counting calories, you become aware of what you eat on a daily basis. From raw observation, you will see trends and figure out what is actually causing the number that you see on the scale. You might realize that you don’t have a balanced diet or you are eating too much of one particular food group.

Myth: Calorie counts are precise

Did you know that the FDA allows a margin of error of as much as 20% when it comes to calorie-counting? That’s right – the numbers you obsessively add are not precise to the last digit. If you’ve been rigorously counting calories to achieve fitness goals, it might be time to ditch the calculator and try a more intuitive, informed approach.

Fact: Proper measurement of portion sizes makes calorie-counting work for you

When you measure the food that you intake in units, such as cups, tablespoons, and grams, you identify proper portion sizes and their corresponding caloric value. Calorie-counting is meaningful in this context as it provides a better understanding of the value of portion sizes.

For instance, a plateful of vegetables might have fewer calories than two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Myth: Calorie-counting will make you lose weight

Losing weight takes more than just calorie-counting. Weight loss is a complex journey with many twists and turns and is often treaded in multiple pathways. Calorie-counting is a good place to start, but of course progress only happens when you do something about that information.

Our Verdict: Calorie-counting is helpful for people who want to become more conscious about their eating habits. Nevertheless, it is important to know how to use such information before one can see positive results in their fitness plan. On the other hand, we are hoping that this won’t correspond to an increasing number of cheat days now that we are inevitably told how much we are eating.

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