Health Care Reform and Food: Mandated Calorie Labeling

Along with all the hoop-lah closely following the new healthcare reform bill, there are a few portions of it getting lost in the controversy.  Whether or not you approve of this legislation, it also impacts foodies of all shapes, and um, sizes.  The bill also mandates that restaurant chains of 20+ locations post up calorie labeling on their menus.

A handful of states, such as New York and California, already have similar postings in place.  The idea?  To make you think twice, and make sensible food choices.  Obesity is becoming a near-epidemic in the United States, and very few are taking the proper measures to combat it.  The fact that consumers (pun intended) aren't properly educated about the things they ingest, particularly at restaurants, where calories and fat content, tend tip the scales, steadily grows the waistlines of our society.  The nation's restaurants are in full support of the bill's requirements, not surprisingly.  Besides, if all of their best customers die from ailments including obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes, then they may not have as many customers returning...right?

Of course, this is another instance where I shamelessly promote the concept for cooking at home more often. Not only does it help bring together a family unit, but it is healthier than most take out.  Cooking at home allows you and you family to be aware of exactly what ingredients you consume, and at what amounts.  Having less preservatives in home-cooked meals is also beneficial, along with ingredient freshness.  These are all factors often overlooked by Americans, as they usually can't see what goes on in restaurant kitchens behind the scenes.  Don't get me wrong, it's nice to go out and have a meal with loved ones, but it should not become a daily occurrence in order to live a healthier lifestyle.

So, the next time you think about having that burger and fries, just remember - you are what you eat.

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