Calorie Counts on Menus

February 27th, 2011 | Filed Under: Nutrition in the news

In the last week the papers reported on how restaurants and fast food outlets would be pressured into voluntarily showing the nutritional content of their food on menus, such as calories and salt content.

This, apparently, would discourage people, or at least make them think twice before having one of those things dressed up as a beef burger or one of those stodgy excuses for a pizza. Or at least enabling them to make the right decision when choosing a meal when out. Although I think it is good for the public to know what is going into their food, particularly in fast food outlets, I am not convinced it would make any difference to the state of the populations health.

People are not going to Pizza Hut or MacDonalds for a healthy dinner, it’s common knowledge that it’s junk, so why would this new move make any difference? Does it really mean people might chose to have some nuggets instead of a Big Mac? Maybe…

Firstly I am not sure that the majority of people who eat enough at the fast food outlets for it to damage their health know, or care how many calories and salt they should be eating, to compare the figures to. It seems to me this move is a lot of air about nothing. It’s too little for a growing national problem where they are vaguely attempting to address one of the hundreds symptoms instead of going to the cause of the problem.

People need to be taught about the basics of food and cooking. This is because, I feel like there is a loss of food culture in this country. I know that the celebrity chefs are trying to bring it back and show us the joys of the British culinary delights but I don’t think they reach those that need the help on a large enough scale. I think we may have lost our culinary skills a couple of generations ago, due to the popularity of fast food and ready meals. I don’t think you need me to tell you that food culture is a lot noticeably stronger in other European countries. The difference is clear in Italy, Spain, France and Greece for example where grandmothers and mothers often teach their children/grandchildren how to cook, and provide good role models. I suppose it could be that, because we are lucky enough to have more equality amongst the sexes in this country, which from my experience is certainly the case as compared to Italy, the more women go out and work here as opposed to just taking care of the family. If this is part of the shift, it shouldn’t be, because we all should know about the basics of food and cooking. Everyone should be able to make a meal out of whatever simple raw ingredients are available. In the words of Micheal Pollan “Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature”.

There needs to be a move to help society do this not count the calories in their KFC bucket.

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