McDonald’s adds calorie counters to menus

A sample menu from McDonald's corporation shows how the calories will be listed for each menu item.

McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. have a new menu item today: calorie counters.
The world’s leading hamburger chain said Sept. 17 was the day it expected calorie information to start being posted on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide.
It’s a proactive move by McDonald’s to stay ahead of a government mandate that could require all major chains to list calorie counts as early as next year to help battle the obesity problem in the U.S.
“We want to voluntarily do this,” Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, told the AP. “We believe it will help educate customers.”
It remains to be seen if knowing the calorie counts of what people are eating will slow down their super-size ordering habits, but Fields said there hasn’t been much of a difference noticed in cities such as New York and Philadelphia, where posting calorie information is already required.
“When it’s all said and done, the menu mix doesn’t change,” Fields said. “But I do think people feel better knowing this information.”
McDonald’s already posts calorie information in Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
Earlier this year the Supreme upheld President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, which includes a stipulation that would mandate restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to post calorie information. No announcement has been made yet as to when chains will be required to list calories..
I doubt if seeing the calories listed next to a Big Mac (550), medium french fries (380) and medium Coke (210) will cause a lot of people to change their orders, but even if some substitute one menu item – such as a water for the Coke – it will make a difference.
Or perhaps it will help people decide to limit their order size, maybe not have a second sandwich, or think about eating at home more often.
Up-front calorie counts should also force companies to provide healthier menu options and produce their food in better ways.
It will also be interesting to see if other fast-food chains, such as Burger King and Wendy’s, follow McDonald’s lead and post their calorie counts.
We all get busy and rushed for time on our food choices now and then and many of us visit drive-through windows.
The calorie counts on the menus are a great idea to help us really think about what we’re eating.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at