EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Many restaurants have started posting calorie numbers next to food items on the menus. That's because many restaurants began early by complying with the new law that requires restaurant chains to post nutritional information on the food they serve.
"We are also a society that's eating out more because of our lifestyle," said Debra Burton, a licensed counselor.
In fact, Americans currently eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home says the FDA. This week they made the law go into effect.
Burton said posting the calorie numbers will make it easier to be able to see what people are consuming, which in turn will help make it easier to budget calories throughout the day.
"If I look at doing (ordering) a sweet BBQ bacon hamburger, I'm looking at 1450 (calories). (That's) one thousand four hundred fifty calories if I choose the meal. Meaning if I have it with fries," Burton said. "So that's going to influence (my decision), it's going to make me look at what items are going to help me to have some calories available for later on in the evening."
Registered Dietician Audrey Bogue said menu labeling will empower East Texans to make the best choices for healthy living.
"When we're at the grocery store, all of the products have the nutritional facts on the back, so we can all flip to the back, see the calories, fat, sodium things like that," Bogue said. "But at restaurants, it's a little bit more cloudy because we don't know the information. So with these new changes, now we can know the calorie information and that will be clearly posted, and if we ask for more information, the restaurant will be able to provide."
Burton said many people tend to underestimate the number of calories in food, especially fast food. She said the higher the number, the more people underestimate the calories.
Many restaurants jumped ahead of a compliance date and are already providing nutritional information on menu boards, on lower calorie menus, and online.
The law was enacted to combat and reduce the burdens of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer.