Quality vs. Quantity

By Dean L. Jones

The U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added some regulations that require chain restaurants, movie theaters, bakeries and ice cream parlors and vending machine companies that own 20 or more machines to display calorie counts for products.  The FDA has calculated that Americans get about a third of their calories away from home, which presumably equates to less nutritious food choices.

Consequently, the application of this law will ultimately become a mere distraction from people knowing what to eat.  Especially since all health professionals agree that calorie counts on menus will not change or solve the obesity and diabetes epidemic in America.  Mainly due to knowing the amount of calories does not serve consumers with making quality healthy food choices.

This new law came into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act, but a number of foodstuff items like seasonal food offerings, daily specials and condiments are exempt from the rule.  Also exempt are independently run restaurants, bars, grocery stores, food trucks, ice cream trucks, food served on airplanes or other transportation vehicles.

Seeing calorie counts for popcorn purchased at a movie theater or amusement park will not avert the average consumer from buying and eating it.  At a sit-down restaurant diners make food choices based on taste not calorie numbers.  When driving a car and placing an order for food at a drive-through fast-food window, no one hardly ponders on caloric intake, especially where staving off hunger is the overriding concern.

Taking time to decide on whether or not to have a muffin at a coffee shop or a scoop of ice cream or sundae from an ice cream store is not going to change knowing the calorie count.  It might spark conversation, but consumers rarely stop their food enjoyment over a number.  However, if the posting showed what added processed sugar does to the body’s organs, then you might find a much stronger choice in eating habits.

Now that people will be advised that 2,000 calories a day is the general daily nutritional value intake, consumers will not alter their eating patterns from what they currently eat.  At best they might eat a smaller portion of their favorite indulgences, but whatever good or bad ingredient(s) in their choice foodstuff is still going to be devoured, promptly.  Quality nutritional information are things such as total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, and processed sugars.  The quality of food ingredients is the critical factor versus the quantity of foodstuff calories serves only as a distraction of inadequacy toward making healthy eating choices.

Knowing the high-caloric count of raw nuts is inconsequential knowledge, as they have many healthy nutrients that are vital.  A handful of nuts at a time is making a quality food choice, achieving sustenance and avoiding hunger, thereby living SugarAlert!


Dean Jones is an Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributing his view on certain aspects of foodstuff.