Know anyone who relies on menu nutrition info to order?

You know how you wait all week to eat out? Then, you sit down in a restaurant and, very first thing every time, scan all the nutrition information on the menu to decide what food you’re going to order?


Or not.

Remember all that debating in Washington over requiring every single eating establishment in these United States to post nutrition information by every single food item you might conceivably order? The rules, which took effect in May, required rewriting every menu anywhere. But it was being implemented long before.

These rules were biggies for Michelle Obama, who liked to order french fries anyway.

This was another of those possibly well-meaning federal edicts designed to force Americans to eat healthier than they want because many of us don’t. The former first lady and others thought the federal government has a major role to play in forcing the population to eat what experts think they should eat, right down to reformulating school lunches that didn’t go over so well.

Mrs. Obama even wanted restaurants to scrap the most popular menu items if their health formula did not pass her muster. Look around on the sidewalk at lunch hour, see how well that’s working.

Now comes documentation from the Gallup folks that those menu guidelines are not guiding very many diners. Less than half of Americans (45 percent) say they pay any attention to menu nutrition information. Only 16 percent say they pay a great deal of attention to what D.C. bureaucrats decided they should know before eating. These numbers have basically not changed in the past five years.


Nearly a third (31 percent) say they pay not much attention and nearly a quarter (23 percent) pay no attention whatsoever.

Perhaps you can guess who started this nanny-menu business. Yup, New York City in 2006 and then, of course, California two years later. Some states have followed suit, while such government edicts have stalled elsewhere.

Now, nutrition info on food packaging in groceries is something else. Almost a third (32 percent) say they read them a lot and a few more (38 percent) say they read them a fair amount.

About a fifth (21 percent) claim to pay not much attention to labels while one-in-ten (nine percent) pay no attention at all.

By the way, this article is gluten-free.

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John Sexton 7:00 PM on December 09, 2023