Calorie Counts Might Pop Up In Chain Restaurants

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COLUMBIA - Many chain restaurants nationwide might have to make a significant change to its menus. A health care law upheld by the Supreme Court would require all restaurants with 20 or more restaurants to post calorie content on menus. Although, the federal government's restrictions and time tables of the imposed restrictions have not been announced.

Many local Columbia restaurants will not have to post calorie content on menus, but one owner still has an opinion of the issue. Robin Weatherford, co-owner of Tellers Gallery and Bar, says it is important for people to realize how many calories they eat, but posting the calorie counts on menus might not make everyone eat healthier.

"I think you choose to regulate what you put in your body. And you don't need that done for you. Maybe some people do... I don't know," Weatherford said as she laughed.

McDonald's is the industry leader in fast food and has an estimated 14,000 restaurants around the United States. The restaurant recently chose to update its menus with the calorie counts of all the items even before the federal government requirement. Neil Getzlow, a communications manager for McDonald's, says the company has a long history of sharing nutritional information. The statement continues: "This announcement delivers against the commitments we made last year to even better enable our more than 25 million U.S. customers to make informed nutrition choices whenever and wherever they visit us. As the industry leader, we believe we can help play a role in bringing greater attention to the importance of calories, and nutrition overall, for customers."

Panera Bread also posts calorie information on its menu. All Panera Bread storefronts would added calorie information posted on menu boards in 2010.

Dietitian Cindy DeBlauw said that posting calorie content on menus does make consumers more aware about the amount of calories in dishes, but still many people might not know how many calories they should eat a day.

"It gives consumers the ability to make a healthy choice. I don't really think that all consumers are really aware of how many calories are in the food that they eat and have a lot of misconceptions," DeBlauw said.