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Ontario’s fast-food chains will soon have to reveal calorie counts on menus

Ontario's fast-food chains will soon have to reveal calorie counts on menus
(Image: David Holt/Flickr)

It’s about to become a bit more difficult to avoid the shame associated with consuming an entire day’s calories in a single sitting. Thanks to legislation introduced earlier today by Liberal health minister Deb Matthews, Ontario will become the first province in Canada to require large restaurant chains to post calorie counts on their menus. While most big chains already have discrete pamphlets or wall posters listing calorie information, the legislation would require the numbers to be displayed right on the main menu screen—forcing customers to come face-to-face with calorie realities.

Whether this knowledge will discourage snackers from super-sizing every meal is yet to be determined. In New York, where mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced similar legislation, a study showed that visible calorie counts had little influence on food choices. Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne says it’s all about information, and that the new legislation is just one piece of a larger puzzle. We’re a bit skeptical about the actual impact this will have on Ontarians’ eating habits. For those who regularly roll into Wendy’s or McDonald’s, health-consciousness is probably not top of mind, anyway; and those who only indulge occasionally are unlikely to need the reminder in the first place. Plus, we suspect few people actively delude themselves into thinking their Whopper meal is a well-rounded dinner choice, whether or not the scary nutritional stats are front and centre.

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