Well Being

Calorie Counts On Menus Are For Women And Old People

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Calorie Counts On Menus Are For Women And Old People pizza calories 640x426 jpgThere’s been a lot of chatter lately about calorie counts on restaurant menus. People wonder if they’re necessary, if they’re effective and what not. The information hounds at Gallup did some research to determine who actually pays attention to posted calories.

Last month, Gallup surveyed over 2,000 Americans, 43% of those surveyed self reported as paying  “a great deal” of or a “fair amount” of attention to nutritional information listed on menus. While that’s somewhat discouraging, considering the numbers are typically plainly listed there, 68% of Americans claim to pay a bunch of attention to nutritional information on food packages.

Of course, we need to take a deeper look at those numbers. Considering age and gender is critical in understanding these trends. Adults in the 50 to 64 (baby boomers) demographic are more likely to take calories into account than the under 30 set. Nearly half of the boomers who answered the Gallup survey say they take a good hard look at calorie counts at restaurants, and three quarters of them check out calories of food packages. Only about a third of the under 30 crowd check out calorie counts on menus, but about half check them out on packaged food.

Is it because we are too busy hashtagging Justin Bieber on our smartphone apps to pay attention to calories? Or because we are young, healthy whippersnappers who don’t yet need to give a fuck about calories? The jury is still out binge drinking and sexting.

So boomers pay more attention to caloric information than youths, what else can Gallup research teach us? Here’s a fucking surprise: women pay more attention to calories posted on restaurant menus than men do. Can you believe it? Nearly half of women surveyed pay attention to calories on menus versus a pitiful 36% of men surveyed.

With such insignificant numbers of people admitting to taking posted calories into account when they are listed in black and white on menus, what’s the point of the  provision required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act that mandates chain restaurants post them? Studies show that people don’t really care and don’t really even reduce their caloric intake. Well, information is never a bad thing. Just because people say they don’t care or don’t currently care doesn’t mean they actually don’t or never will. Perhaps people don’t reduce their caloric intake at Starbucks more than like 100 calories, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be explicitly informed about what they’re paying to guzzle down.

via AARP//Image via Shutterstock