Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All menus in Ontario should have sodium and calorie counts on them. Another reason I suspect intelligence is a myth.

INGREDIENTS: Pork and Love
Actually, its a Spicy Fennel Lamb Sausage (Barry CWC)

elow (in black font) is a CBC article on what one advocacy group would like to do to combat obesity. My thoughts are the medium-well red font.

Canada's restaurants are doing their patrons a grave disservice by keeping nutritional facts off their menus, an Ottawa-based advocacy group suggested.
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (Funded how?) said Tuesday all levels of government must step in and make it mandatory to share the sort of dietary details that eateries so often keep under wraps. Do you really want to know how much awesome calories that Wild Ginger Crème Brulee has? No. Why? Because, how many people go out to restaurants with the first priority being to eat healthier? Vegans you say? …. Damn…. Good answer.
A basic breakdown of calorie totals and sodium values, the centre argued, could go a long way toward stemming the rising tide of obesity in the country.
Why not just set a maximum order limit based on each customers BMI?
The centre's findings are outlined in Writing on the Wall, a 90-page report analyzing the impact that restaurants have on public health.
CSPI national co-ordinator Bill Jeffery said restaurant diners should have access to the sort of fundamental nutrition facts legally required to appear on all supermarket food packaging. I offer an olive branch here (INGREDIENTS: Olives, Twigs).
Accommodating those with dietary restrictions is good for business. However, it’s painfully obvious that The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CENSLES) does not contain a single person with any form of hospitality background. You thought this up in like a ten minute meeting didn’t you?
"Who would settle for seeing nutrition information in grocery stores in the manager's office or stacked up by the cash register?" Jeffery said in a telephone interview from Ottawa. Answer: Non-Vegans
"It's just not acceptable. You need the information readily apparent at the point where you're making the decision, and having to jump through hoops to get that information just means that fewer people are going to use it." I just had a thought involving words like “moderation”, and “self-control” but it’s gone now.
The CSPI report assessed basic nutrition facts voluntarily compiled by more than 30 of the country's major chains, including Burger King, Casey's, Tim Hortons and East Side Mario's. Right, because I have done 3 years of schooling and 4 years of apprenticing to end up at one of these places…
Many menu offerings contain two and three times the recommended daily calorie and sodium quantities an adult should ingest, with some dishes having up to two days worth of sodium in one serving. Fun fact, the average North American consumes a wicked 2500mg of sodium daily. That is 1000mg more than we should ingest. There is no debate here. We are brining ourselves to an early pickled grave.
The report said a fifth of Canadians' weekly food intake comes from restaurant meals, suggesting they play a significant role in rising incidents of hypertension and other obesity-related conditions. Is there restaurants out there I am not aware of force feeding customers gavage style? If so, this might actually be the problem…
Jeffery said much of this nutritional information is available to customers, but only if they actively seek it out. I sense that is a problem with these people.
Requesting nutritional brochures or researching meal options online ahead of time is impractical, he argued, suggesting that restaurants disclose a calorie total next to all items and add a high-sodium flag where appropriate. God Bless you Jeffery. You realize you are trying to convince the same government THAT IS TRYING TO TELL THE WORLD THAT ASBESTOS IS NOT DANGEROUS don’t you? Seriously. Good luck with your flag.

Menu space concern –Logic!

A notice at the bottom of the menu stating the daily target of 2,000 calories and 1,500 milligrams of sodium would help diners put their choices in context, he said. Also, should mention to chew 29 times before swallowing as well…
"Even trained dietitians are terrible at estimating the calorie counts and sodium levels for restaurant foods," Jeffery said.
"This is the kind of thing where you really need objective information from the company that makes the product." If this happens, I am always eating out on Spadina. The lost in translation would be hilarious.
Joyce Reynolds of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association agreed a national framework for calorie disclosure would be a valuable service to patrons.
Unlike Jeffery, however, she believes menus are the wrong medium through which to communicate such information. .
Customers want to consider many factors beyond calories and sodium when making their choices, she said, adding that menus don't offer enough space to properly display the necessary values.
"There's other organizations saying it should be trans fats, and others are saying it should be allergens," she said. "There's no end to the number of pieces of information that would be a nice-to-have on the menu, but it's not possible." Right sooooo, that’s totally what I was gonna say…
Reynolds said the association is in talks with the federal government to devise a national framework for nutritional disclosure in restaurants.
Mobile apps may offer patrons a convenient way to research their food choices in the years ahead, she said. Hipster vegans rejoice!!
Jeffery said the onus is on governments to set food disclosure rules, since eateries are loath to make such information accessible for fear of losing business.
"Restaurants recognize if people see how high the sodium levels and calorie levels are in their foods, they're going to expect that those foods be reformulated to suit their expectations about healthfulness," he said.
"It may be that some restaurant patrons decide that it's better for them to just make food at home." Diplomatic talk for “Maybe get a hold on that BMI before ordering the 2 oz. Roasted Foie Gras.”

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