Nanny State

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.