What You Know Will Still Hurt You: New CA Law Forces Chain Restaurants to Print Calorie Counts

Goodbye unconscious binge, hello nutrition facts. Thanks to Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who signed a bill to force fast food joints to publish nutritional information for their customers, you will now be able to face the caloric reality of your food next time you sit down at a major chain restaurant in California. Imagine a greasy abacus tucked in to your menu, to help you count up the damage of a large order of shoestring fries before you confess your cravings to the voice behind the drive-thru speaker.

Read the fine print
Read the fine print

The first stage of the new menu labeling law took effect today, and over 17,000 restaurants will be required to provide brochures detailing the number of calories, grams of saturated fat, grams of carbohydrates and milligrams of sodium for standard menu items. By 2011, this information will be printed directly onto menus. The mandate was modeled after this NYC ordinance that required large chains to print nutritional information on menu boards. Will the truth about fast food slow us down? Sixteen million Californians are obese or overweight and SB 1420 is intended to help diners make educated choices about the food they eat. Maybe next time you're considering a Chocolate Triple Thick Shake at McDonalds, you'll order a Big Mac instead. It's got half the calories.

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