The nudge agenda was conceived to push the public to modify and improve their eating habits.
Restaurants are now moving quickly to lower the calorie count of their current bestsellers, and are revamping their menus so that the food items with high calories are compensated by healthier food choices. They realize that the time has arrived when consumers will start looking for alternatives to their favorite meal which would contain lower calories. IHOP has already overhauled their bacon-and-eggs breakfast and lessened its calorie count from 1,160 to 350. Panera Bread has also started reducing the amount of sauce it adds to its sandwiches, and has begun putting together soups with reduced fat and sodium, and came up with a salad with 300 calories.
Other restaurants, like California Pizza Kitchen, which received special mention in the report for serving salads that have as high as 1,400 calories and pizzas with 1,500, stands on their ground to simply focus on giving out accurate calorie counts inside their menu covers and on their menu boards, and does not wish to join in the commotion at this point. Many industry-players also say that this move will not really impact the consumers’ demand for these types of food, even with the lessened calorie counts on the menus.
The ruling is said to take effect this September.
This effort to post calorie counts inside restaurant menu covers and on menu boards is to allow customers to see the information at the point of ordering, where it can compel them to make more educated choices. A lot may ask, why focus on calories? For the obvious reason that calories are what adds the extra pounds which cause obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Dictionaries define calorie as a unit of energy-producing potential in food. Such energy, if unused, is transformed to fat and stores in the body.
Each person, depending on his daily activities, has his own recommended daily calorie intake, and there are intricate calculations involved in this. The average recommendation for men is 2,500 calories a day, while women need 2,000. Such recommendation varies according to distinct calculations, and is determined by three important factors: (1) the persons’ weight, (2) the amount of muscles a person has and (3) his activity levels.
Let’s take a look at an average American’s daily food intake and compute the amount of calories he takes in: bananas have 105 calories, a raw unpeeled apple has 125, a cup of beef and vegetable stew amounts to 220 calories, a light beer has 95, a cup of whole milk has 150 calories, a slice of bread an average of 80 calories. If you eat all these in a day, you can easily hit your daily recommended calorie intake of 2,000 or 2,500. Go to a fast-food restaurant and add a 1,150-calorie pizza to your intake and you surely go overboard. Going overboard twice or thrice a week can mean a few more extra pounds a month.
In a society that has become increasingly health-conscious, this government-initiated “nudge agenda” is indeed, most welcome.