Is our American National Government
Promoting Eating Disorders?

Welcome to a new fixture in your neighborhood restaurant: Calorie counts!

Have you been to your favorite restaurant lately? The first thing you see when you enter the restaurant is the menu with all the offerings to choose from. You glance at the menu and debate what you want for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or in between). Right after you see what the menu item includes, there's the price for the item. Sounds good for your wallet!

In this day and age, you see yet another item right next to the price. You see a number and the word "calories" next to it. You got that right, calorie counts on a restaurant menu staring at you in the face, and you think for a moment, why are these prominently shown on the menu?

You can thank the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the same law that gave us Obamacare. A part of the law requires that chain restaurants - which took effect on 7 May 2018 - post calorie counts in their menus, all in the name of encouraging Americans to live healthier lifestyles. To me, I think these calorie counts posted prominently on printed menus and menu boards have the potential to scare people away, especially people who are fighting a battle with eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa.

To a person who is overcoming (or in recovery from) an eating disorder, the sight of a calorie count on a restaurant's menu can have the potential of the person having an anxiety attack right there in the restaurant. Is our Federal Government, being in the nanny state business, requiring that restaurants post calorie counts on the menus promoting eating disorders? This article I found at on the Federal Government's mandatory calorie counts being hazardous to your health tells it all.

Why you should be concerned about calorie counts in restaurants

According to the article, twenty million women as well as ten million men (as of 2011) struggle with one form of eating disorder or another, including Anorexia Nervosa. An eating disorder is a serious condition, both physically and mentally, in which a person avoids eating food for fear of weight gain. The road to recovery for someone with an eating disorder is a long road to recovery requiring the help of a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist as well as a counselor specializing in eating disorders. Most people with eating disorders are helped on an outpatient basis but a good number (especially the more severe cases) require some form of inpatient treatment, usually at a treatment facility specializing in eating disorders.

A person who is recovering from an eating disorder is usually taught to stop counting calories and stop weighing oneself as a part of therapy, according to the article. Unfortunately, when a person in recovery from an eating disorder walks into a restaurant for a get together with friends and/or family, once the calorie counts are seen on the menu that person could potentially face an anxiety attack, worried about weight gain and appearance. Is this what our Federal Government is doing to scare away people with eating disorders from restaurants?

Another anxiety trigger for people with eating disorders

While we're on the topic of eating disorders and anxiety, there is another anxiety trigger for people in recovery from eating disorders, and it's not in the restaurant: The doctor's office, when the nurse collects your pre-visit vitals by having you step on that scale. Remember, it is your body and you have a right to refuse any screening for your weight when you visit the doctor. Unfortunately, the nurse will do anything and everything to get you on that scale, even going to false claims that your weight is needed for your insurance. That statement is way far from the truth! Remember, what is entered on your chart including any medical diagnoses (such as any type of Diabetes, for instance) can make its way to your health insurance company as well as your employer, and eventually in a legal proceeding such as a guardianship proceeding filed against you thanks to the subpoena process during the examining committee phase.

Remember, you have rights when you are in a doctor's office when it comes to tests or procedures including pre-visit vitals. If a nurse tries to force you to step on that scale for any reason whatsoever, all you have to say is I DO NOT CONSENT. In a healthcare setting that statement carries a lot of legal heft and once you say this the nurse has to stop harassing you to get on that scale and if the nurse persists in any way, it can be construed as assault.

Edward Ringwald's Take on Calorie Counts in Restaurants

My opinion is this: Calorie counts have no place on a restaurant's printed menu or on a menu board. However, restaurants can make nutritional information including calorie counts available to the customer upon request, as is present practice. But don't post calorie counts - especially in large to read type - to scare away customers!

Our Federal Government should NOT be in the nanny business of telling us what to eat or how many calories we consume at the restaurant. While it is claimed that the posting of calorie counts promotes healthier lifestyles, in reality it amounts to nothing more than a scare tactic posted in restaurants across the country as well as promoting eating disorders.

In short, our American National Government has no business telling Americans - and Floridians - what to eat especially in restaurants. Again, calorie counts have no place on a restaurant's menu board.