Just cause something works for you, doesn’t mean we should make everyone do it

I’m getting a lot of interesting responses to this week’s Healthcare Triage on menu labeling. The vast majority of them are in the vein of “calorie counting works for me, so menu labeling is awesome”.

I have no problem with people being able to find out how many calories they are eating. I do it all the time. I’m a huge user of MyFitnessPal. But just because I like to look up calories, and find it useful to me, doesn’t mean that there should be laws plastering calorie counts on every menu and restaurant wall.

Let’s say that putting up calories gets 30% of people to eat less, should we mandate it for every restaurant? What if it also gets 40% of people to eat more? Should we still do it? Better question – should we force everyone to do it? I get that some of you find there’s a benefit. But research shows that there are people for whom it might backfire!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the plural of anecdote is not data. I’ll still go with the collected body of research. The evidence to data does not show that menu labeling works.


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