WIFR: Mercyhealth Dietitian Offers Expertise on Law Requiring Calorie Counts on Menus

ROCKFORD, Ill. — According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans eat and drink one-third of their calories away from home. A new law will make it easier for us to keep track.

The new federal labeling ordinance is part of Affordable Care Act; it will impact all restaurant chains with 20 or more locations, requiring them to post calorie counts on all menus and menu boards.

While Wired Cafe owner Crystal Douglas won’t be required to comply with this law, she feels it’s unnecessary.

“I think there’s so much put on the restaurant owners as it is now. I think we need to own it. As a consumer, we need to own our own,” said Douglas.

Douglas knows how to appeal to her customer’s needs. That’s why she makes sure to put healthy options on her menu.

“We have a lot of vegetarian. We do vegan soups occasionally. We have gluten-free options,” said Douglas.

Supporters say businesses will also be required to post more nutrition info on their websites.

“This piece was actually bipartisan. We believe this law is gonna help consumers make informed choices, and also choices that are right for them,” said Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association Cicely Simpson.

Local nutritionists feel it’s a move in the right direction.

“If you haven’t thought about it before, it may be an eye-opener. It might actually make you make a better decision,” said Mercyhealth Dietitian Elise Remsen.

However, Douglas thinks many customers are already prepared to splurge when they eat out.

“Me, personally, it’s not going to affect whether I get an item or not,” said Douglas.

The law more than 10 years in the making and supporters say it will also help settle inconsistencies between state and national laws.

To watch the original story, click here.

Mercyhealth MyChart Sign In