Restaurant Calorie Labeling and Obesity: Does it Work?

A 620 calorie Starbucks Venti White Hot Chocolate is over 1/4 your recommended calories for the day1. But would knowing that change what you order? As calories on menus goes nationwide, this New York Times article asks “does it work?” and there are arguments on both sides.

“There are very few cases where social scientists have documented that giving people information has changed their behavior very much,” he said. “Changing prices and changing convenience have big impact. Providing information doesn’t.”

He gave a few examples: nutrition information on packaged food; warning labels on drugs; terrorism alerts; airplane safety cards; and the government’s pyramid symbol (recently replaced by a plate) that is supposed to show people, in simple terms, how to eat a balanced diet.

  1. never mind that calories are not a large factor in causing obesity