Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Calorie Cartoon

I n today's NY Daily News, Bramhall has a satiric look at the city's silly calorie posting regulation-with a great tag line from a fast food employee to a Health Department rep: "Any more genius ideas?" You know that an idea has lost its appeal when the satirists take it on-but the folks down at the DOH are too earnest to see the humour in all of their regulatory hectoring.

In another story in today's Daily News, the inanity is brought home: "Even when confronted with the sky-high calorie counts of fast food, many poor New Yorkers still go with their gut. A new study found that even after the city ordered chain restaurants to post calories on their menus, some diners in low-income areas apparently made worse food choices than before."

Amazing! Things actually got worse: "Researchers collected about 1,200 receipts from customers at McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken and found they purchased an average of 846 calories - compared to 825 before the menus were labeled. Surprisingly, the customers bought the fat-laden food even though 28% believed the calorie counts had influenced their orders."

Which underscores what we had said before this all was foisted on New Yorkers-people simply don't understand the calorie concept and, in some cases, actually believe that more calories means healthier-or better-eating. Leave it to the DOH, however, to see the silver lining in all of this: "Cathy Nonas, director of the city Health Department's nutrition programs, pointed out that the study was done mere weeks after the menu labeling began, suggesting eating habits may have changed more since then. Also, Nonas was heartened that so many people said they look at the data and pointed out that fast food chains are adding healthy items all the time. The city is now completing a 12,000-receipt study of the program. "We know that not everybody is going to care about calories, but it's the government's job to make sure people are informed," she said."

In other words, the operation was a success, but the patient died. How sad.