Does Anyone Really Want to Know The Calorie Count of Timbits?


Earlier today, I blogged a bit about how annoying (and generally useless) fast-food calorie counts are. Take two Lipitors and check it out here.

Now comes former Reason child star intern Ryan Sager with a great piece about why people don't want to know what they're eating. A tasty morsel:

One study, out last fall, suggests that people either ignore the labels or use them like teenage boys use the movie and TV rating systems — to make sure they'll be getting enough of the good stuff. Researchers from New York University and Yale looked at a sample of 1,156 adults at fast-food restaurants in low-income, minority communities in New York City and compared their habits before and after calorie labeling to similar customers in Newark, N.J., a city that had not instituted calorie labeling. While many people claimed to be paying attention to the new information in New York, the researchers found that there was no change in the amount?of?calories purchased. In fact, there was even a slight uptick.

A second study, which came out in January, showed slightly more promising results; but it actually may tell us more about the limitations of calorie labeling than about its promise. In a study of Starbucks patrons in New York City, over the course of a year before and after the implementation of calorie labeling, researchers from Stanford University found a slight decrease in how many calories customers purchased — 6% per transaction. There were, however, three important caveats: 1) the reductions were almost entirely in food ordered (drinks were unaffected); 2) the reductions were greater for patrons from high-income and high-education zip codes, and 3) the reductions disappeared entirely around the holidays.

Whole thang here.

And chow down on Sager's NeuroWorld blog already. It's the weekend!

Obligatory Timbits explainer.

Speaking of Camus-like hockey players, if you're like me, you're still waiting on the Pelle_Lindbergh breakfast sandwich.

NEXT: The Salvia Ban Wagon Rolls On

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is why people can’t be allowed to make choices.

    1. Scotch Hamilton in 5…4…3…

  2. Remember, everyone, it all started with a little warning on the side of every pack of butts. What harm could come of that?

  3. WARNING: This blog may offend you or take positions that challenge your assumptions. It may also include certain terms, concepts, ideas, phrases, derogatory remarks, or other idiomatic word grouping that you may find displeasing. Use at your own risk. This blog should not be accessed in you live in CA, VT, NY, PA, or MA. Void in TX.

    1. rated?

      1. I’ll buy that: Rated PG.

        1. hysterical!

        2. Im apparently not using the word Fuck enough.

  4. It’s time…for a Quarter Pounder. Or is that Royale with Cheese?

    1. And what do you dip your french fry in, sailor boy?

  5. the doughnut balls of a lion


  6. explain the pelle lindbergh reference?

    1. Pelle Lindbergh was a Philadelphia Flyers goaltender who was killed in a one-car automobile accident as was the aforementioned Tim Horton.

  7. What, the neo-cons at “Pajamas Media” didn’t have a video that you could link to Nick?

  8. the reductions were greater for patrons from high-income and high-education zip codes

    Sign-obedience correlates with sign-obedience? I smell a Nobel.

  9. Obligatory rant from a Canadian wondering why culturally illiterate Americans don’t know what a Timbit is:

    “Geez, you guys are so backwards, not knowing what a Timbit is!”


    1. Yeah we also don’t know about warm smoothies and splattering everything with ketchup either. And yet…somehow…life goes on.

      You’re welcome.

    2. Wang dang sweet poutine!

    3. What’s a Timbit?

      1. If they are what’s in the attached image they would appear to be what we Americans call “donut holes.”

    4. Wikipedia mentions the flavors that Timbits come in, and one flavor is “dutchie.”

      “Dutchie” is slang in Jamaica for a joint – also known in Jamaica as a spliff.

      Musical Youth has a song titled “Pass the Dutchie on the Left Hand Side.”

  10. “Geez, you guys are so backwards, not knowing what a Timbit is!”

    Yes, that’s about as vicious a rant as i’d expect from an inhabitant of America’s Hat.

    1. dick?

      1. Le Zing!

    2. Does this hat make my ass look large?

      1. I think people are looking at the pile of shit the ass left behind in Central/South America

  11. Nope, I just know they taste good thats all that matters.


    1. LOL> Always knew you were a sweet tooth.

  12. “Does Anyone Really Want to Know The Calorie Count of Timbits?”

    The short answer is “no”.

    And the longest answer I can think of is, “No, I just avoid deep fried bread.”

    I mean, seriously, if your diet has you lookin’ to find out the calorie content of deep fried potatoes? I’m questioning your whole approach.

  13. This picture should accompany the hutaree video above.

  14. Timbits: Food of the Sods!

  15. It is we who shall decide what is good for you. You’re too fucking stupid to make those determinations by yourselves, childlike hairless apes that you are.

    1. Please help me understand how requiring food distributors to provide more information about what they’re selling is another step on the road to serfdom.

      1. OK, fair question. A full answer would require a book, but I’ll give you a couple of quick points.

        First, forcing businesses to post the information encourages people to depend on the government to ‘protect’ them and helps to foster a mindset of dependency. In a larger perspective, people are encouraged NOT to take initiative or responsibility for their own choices.

        Second, the cost of providing such information is prohibitive for small and mid-sized businesses while insignificant to large corporations. Large, politically connected, businesses are favored at the expense of small ones.

        Third, in the particular case of food servings, the inherent variability in size makes a truly accurate measure impossible. This allows regulators to find “violations” and justify further, stricter regulations.

        This is a precis, not a full answer. To understand it better I would suggest you read up on ‘regulatory capture’ and ‘rent seeking’.

        1. The first concern is a pretty huge stretch.

          The second is a legitimate concern.

          The third is not; the posted totals are the average calorie counts, so variability in serving will simply result in small errors which cancel each other out. Just like McDonalds is not liable for fraud if they give out Quarter Pounders that vary between .247 and .253 pounds. But if the average were .200 pounds, that would be grounds for fraud.

          1. I tend to agree about the first, and the second is definitely a burden, as we’ve seen here.

            The third, however, is an enormous legal exposure for restaurants. I predict a wave of lawsuits as a result.

          2. “The first concern is a pretty huge stretch.”

            And how did you arrive at such an erroneous conclusion?

            Perhaps you missed the 2008 King of the Hill ‘Trans-Fascism’ episode in which Bill eats himself almost to death on the notion the government is “protecting” him from harmful food.

            Wake-up, this is how we became a nation of sheep.

      2. Because the nannyists aren’t trying to stop people from being deceived, they’re trying to prevent people from choices that they don’t like, and some optimistic nannyist faction thinks that preventing deception will achieve that goal.

        It usually starts with soft paternalism, if only because it is inoffensive enough that it can win over moderates less comfortable with paternalism in general. However, since the underlying problem is that a lot of people don’t share the values of neopuritans, “raising awareness” will not be the smashing success they hoped. And because they have no ethical qualms about forcing their preferences on others, plan B will certainly be compulsory caloric reduction (and their previous efforts at labeling will be used as justification — “we’re already halfway there anyway”).

        When it comes to progressives, the slippery slope is never a logical fallacy (as should be obvious from the name).

  16. I’m assuming the Pelle Lindbergh breakfast sandwich comment is because he, like Tim Horton, died in a car crash while an active hockey player. The difference is that Tim Horton was also the co-founder of Tim Horton’s Donuts (Inc.). He wasn’t just some hockey player who had something named after him, he was a hockey player who was an entrepreneur.

  17. Timmies is the BEST. Soon, all of America will wallow in their tasty, sugary goodness. I give the US of A about a decade and a half before amalgamation with our great nation.

    Remember Bitches, we’re on top.

    1. We already have Krispy Kreme, not to mention we invented donuts and all donut related paraphernalia.

  18. he researchers found that there was no change in the amount?of?calories purchased. In fact, there was even a slight uptick.

    Nick, you do know that these are contradictory assertions, right? “no change” =/= “a slight uptick”.

  19. Sager was a Reason intern?

    I’m not sure you guys beat the statism out of him.

  20. Timbits are a Canadian plot to get American’s to accept socialized health care. 😉

  21. I think nobody really want to know “The fast food calorie count.”

    In the article, in New York, the researchers found that there was no change in the amount?of?calories purchased. In fact, there was even a slight uptick.
    Even if some states force labeling calorie, the purches of fast food are still the same as before. There is no difference at all.
    I mean, seriously, if your really want loose weight, are you going to find out the calorie content of deep fried potatoes? I dont think so.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.