Making restaurants label the amount of calories that each of their dishes contains would be a positive force in combating obesity in the US, asserts Marc Siegel of USA Today. This change could spur businesses to compete with each other through lower calorie foods, to lure customers that want to eat healthier. Americans, of whom 40% of adults are obese, consume around a third of their calories away from home. Letting them know exactly how many calories their food contains is only beneficial. Critics are wrong to claim that these new labels would raise costs. There would be discretion for foods that are often modified with different toppings.
While adding calorie counts to food menus is well-intentioned, it could actually have adverse effects, suggests Carrie Dennett of The Washington Post. Particularly people that suffer from eating disorders and weight issues would see little change in their eating habits and could even go through extra mental distress. For some, seeing the large numbers of calories that they are about to consume could act as a label of shame and guilt. One survey found that 65% of female respondents had engaged in unhealthy eating habits, such as extreme dieting or using pills to lose weight. Calorie counts on menus could adversely affect such people.