Another problem with calorie counts

The previous post about New York’s calorie posting rule has kicked off a surprisingly long discussion. Here’s a point we haven’t addressed: Are the counts at all reliable? The blog Midtown Lunch examines Chipotle’s posted calorie info and finds two problems. One is that, with highly customizable items like burritos, the restaurant can provide, at best, a wide range of hypothetical nutritional information. According to the Chipotle sign a burrito carries anywhere from 420-918 calories. How useful is that information? And what’s next, requiring the restaurant to post the calories involved in each specific ingredient?

The second problem is reliability. Doing some math, Midtown claims that the ranges posted in the restaurant and the information on Chipotle’s website are not comparable.

If Chipotle’s case is at all similar to what we’ll see from other restaurants, New York’s much-touted regulation won’t accomplish much. Is anyone helped by seeing that their lunch will vary within a 500 calorie range?

Update: Hell, if we’re talking about burritos, the nanny state, and discovering people’s true preferences, I have no excuse for not linking to my old Magic of Politics post.

[Via Slashfood.]

Comments

  1. RumorsDaily says:

    There’s a default burrito. It seems perfectly easy to post the basic default calorie count. People can customize at their own risk.

  2. Mike says:

    And why did my comment just get swallowed by a spam blocker?

  3. Jacob Grier says:

    Don’t know, man. But it’s gone. Sorry :(

  4. Mike says:

    No probs, the basic gist was that if it’s a choice between requiring restaurants to post nutritional information and outright banning of certain ingredients (e.g. trans fats), it’s a no-brainer. The state’s gonna get involved (it can’t seem to help itself these days) but at least it’s in a less restrictive way.

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