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Distasteful reaction to listing calories on menus

April 17, 2008 |  9:56 am


This was NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' reaction to the news yesterday that New York City chain restaurants would be required to post calories on menus beginning Monday.

"If the food and dietary police haven't done enough already, today they moved a step closer to ruining the experience of going to a restaurant for a meal."

New York City was the first U.S. city to enact a regulation requiring chain restaurants to list nutritional information on menus. The law was challenged by the New York State Restaurant Assn. But, yesterday, a federal judge said the action is reasonable in its goal of trying to reduce obesity. Williams wasn't the only person who is unimpressed. The National Restaurant Assn. said:

"Its flawed approach won't ultimately help consumers receive nutritional information that is useful to them."

But dietitian Keith Ayoob noted on his USA Today blog that other states are considering similar laws. There is no scientific data to show such laws make a difference in consumer choices. But, Ayoob said:

"At any rate, if you're watching your weight, you need to be informed about what you're eating in any restaurant. Unfortunately, these proposed laws only apply to major chains, not the local single establishment places that even more people patronize."

People like Brian Williams, who, I doubt, eats too often at Burger King. But he obviously worries about the rest of us.

"Enjoy your meal," he signed off, dourly, to viewers.

- Shari Roan

Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times