by Marion Nestle
Mar 12 2008

San Francisco votes nutrition labeling

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is requiring chain restaurants to post nutrition information on menu boards–not just calories, as in New York, but also fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. Carbohydrates but not sugars? All that? It will be interesting to see how this works in six months when the rule goes into effect.

  • Hylton

    I’m more of an ingredients reader myself. I can quite easily decide what I want to eat by knowing what my food is made of in order of prominance.

    It would be helpful and not too difficult for resturants to list ingredients used down to type of oils and such. People with different tastes, dietary requiremnets and allergies could be spared from the awkwardness of asking questions of the service staff while ordering.

    I’ve heard that the general public doens’t like to read ingredients and that’s why Nutrition Facts tends to recieve emphasis, but I don’t find the Nutrituion Facts labeling on products to be very useful.

  • Daniel Ithaca,NY

    Hylton has a great point

    It would be pretty easy in comparison to list ingredients. Even the smaller restaurants could do this without hiring someone to figure out the nutrition facts for each menu item possibly offered! Since can be tricky for some people to decipher, e.g. Lucky Charms #1 ing.: Whole Grain Oats followed by sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar…; many food manufacturers trick people by listing ingredients like “non-fat milk powder, milk fat”

    I do like the idea of chain restaurants being required to list the Calories, the Fat grams (separate them please, include Saturated & Trans) and the amount of added sugar would also be helpful information.

    Let’s see if many people change their habits just because they will be informed. I’m certain some will change their habits. Unfortunately, I bet there are others who won’t pay attention or will not care.
    It may be worth it just for this first group to “eat less” of the poor choices.

  • I think “sugar” is a distractor. It allows people to eat a giant Wendy’s baked potato with over 60 grams of carbohydrate and think they are getting a healthy lunch because it only has 3 grams of sugar.

    Those 60 grams of carb convert into, roughly, 60 grams of sugar in the bloodstream. That’s 15 teaspoons of sugar – yum!

    By contrast, a 12 oz. Coke has only 40 g of carb or 10 teaspoons.

    Pearsonally, I think we need both ingredients and Nutrition Facts. They serve different purposes. When I shop, there are many products that I put back on the shelf instead of buying. (Most of them, actually.) Sometimes the Nutrition Facts are acceptable, but the ingredients are not. But sometimes, it’s vice versa.


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