Chris Brandt, West Fargo, N.D., letter: Calorie information belongs on menusIt’s important for North Dakotans to have caloric information on menus and menu boards to make informed food and beverage choices.
By: Chris Brandt,
WEST FARGO, N.D. — With busy schedules, many of us are eating on the run and dining out or ordering take-out food to feed our families. Most people tend to underestimate the calories in the foods consumed.
That’s why it’s important for North Dakotans to have caloric information on menus and menu boards to make informed food and beverage choices.
In my experience counseling individuals on weight management, I know how hard people work to control their weight and how they struggle with determining healthier choices when eating out.
People know about limiting the portion size and avoiding fried foods.
Simply having the calories posted would give them an extra tool to control their diet and avoid eating half their daily calories in one meal.
With 66 percent of North Dakota adults considered overweight or obese, we have gained the unfortunate title of the 21st most obese state in the U.S. The obesity rate in North Dakota has increased more than 80 percent in the past 15 years, thus contributing to the doubling of diabetes rates.
Menu labeling is an inexpensive, common sense tool to help us make healthier choices and improve the health of our community.
As the FDA develops regulations requiring calories on menus and menu boards, we hope the final rule will include establishments such as movie theaters and ensure that consumers receive clear, precise information on all menu items.
While obesity is a complicated problem, we know that a key component of reversing the obesity epidemic in North Dakota is enabling residents to practice calorie control when eating food prepared outside the home.
Brandt is a dietitian.