Healthcare reform mandates new menu health information.
Photo: Tim Boyd/Getty Images
One of the most important things about the new healthcare reforms is that soon restaurants and other providers of food will be obliged by law to post detailed information about exactly what they are serving to customers. Personal trainer and Live-ilates creator Andrea Metcalf says this is a great and much needed advance.
In New York, thanks to an initiative by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the menu boards of every deli, restaurant, coffee shop or fast food chain must by law contain a complete rundown of the nutritional value of each item printed alongside. It's like a quick dose of reality when seeing what the actual calorie count and fat grams are. It has a profound effect on the way people chose what they eat.

The technique of rationalization over impulse is one I have used for years to guide my clients'—and my own—weight loss plans. There is a good scientific explanation for why there is a difference between your automatic urges are and what you do when you are informed. Between thinking and acting there is a significant change in neuro-transmitters in the brain. No surprise, then, that when nutritional information is included on every menu, as they will be thanks to the healthcare reforms, we are likely to see a noticeable change in what people choose to eat.

In one of the corporate wellness programs I have designed, I made a simple change in the way the calorie count per tablespoon of dressing at the salad bar was labeled. That simple change resulted in the elimination of one entire type of dressing from the menu as employees shifted from a high-calorie to a low-calorie dressing.

So, what should you look for when you see the new calorie counts that will soon be posted alongside foods in restaurants and cafés?

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