Just when we thought the holiday season was off to a great start, the U.S. FDA delivers this lovely bit of news: starting next year, restaurant chains with twenty or more stores will be required to display the calorie count of all alcoholic beverages on the menu. So much for a simple drink that was helping to take the edge off the day. Now all we’re going to think about is the additional calories we’re ingesting along with that thousand-plus calorie burger we ordered – so thanks a lot Big Brother.
Oddly the new rules don’t apply if you order the drinks at the bar, just if you’ve been seated at a table and presented the full menu. Although we don’t often head to Applebee’s and saddle up to the bar instead of parking ourselves in a booth, perhaps that’s the only way we’re going to be able to shield ourselves from the truth. We’ll definitely be doing this at Red Robin, where we have no desire to know how many calories are in that Red Wine Ice Cream Shake of theirs.
If you’re pissed about these new changes, blame the lobbyists:
After years of lobbying for more nutritional information on alcoholic beverages, public health advocates say the menu labeling rules are a first step.
“Alcoholic beverages are a key contributor to the calories Americans are consuming, and most of the time when people have a drink they have absolutely no idea what its caloric impact is,” says Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Her group petitioned the government more than a decade ago to require that bottles and cans be labeled with robust nutritional information.
But remember, these new rules only apply if the drinks are listed on the main menu, so the wine list, thankfully, is exempt. Perhaps this was just a way to get people to order more bottles of wine!
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