Sunday, October 05, 2008

A good thing about NYC - Calorie Labels

I've actually grown to hate most things about this wretched city, but one thing I like is that it learns from other cultures and societies. In Japan, Canada, and maybe elsewhere, they list the calories of any particular food item right next to it on the menu (or wherever you're looking at it). New York officials saw this and tried introducing it two years ago, but a judge struck the law down. The city council reintroduced it, though, and one of the arguments they used was that some of the very same restaurant chains whining that labels like this would be too onerous - like McDonald's and Starbucks - do it just fine in other countries. These chains obviously just didn't want us to know how fattening their food is as we stood in line ordering - they'd rather hide that on their web sites.

I actually quit eating the Starbucks donut I used to eat every morning when they started labeling stuff with calories:

480 calories in a plain old donut! No wonder I was gaining weight. Well, that and all the alcohol.

I actually don't really buy any food at Starbucks anymore. Pretty much everything they have is over 400 calories, except for the "reduced fat" coffee cakes (280), the "loafs" (380) and an apple tart that's suspiciously labeled 120 calories. I think this is probably why they're introducing stuff now like oatmeal - it can't just be me that's stopped buying their food here.

My cell phone camera sucks, but here's a McDonald's menu:

On the meal displays, the calories are all on the bottom. I didn't get a good shot of that, but you can see a little more detail of the drinks here:

I don't really believe that "sweet tea" - which is nothing but sugar water - only has 230 calories. But whatever. I wonder if anybody's ever going to sue over inaccurate labeling. It's still cool that it's there, though, and it totally affects what I buy. The night we were at this McDonald's, I was jonesing for one of those angus burgers (or as I like to call them, "anus burgers"), but I changed my mind in the face of about 1,420 calories.

This should be the law everywhere.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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