Hamburgers and heart disease

It’s what many nutritionists and public health experts had hoped for. Food labeling on restaurant menus shows diners calorie counts of the meals they’re about to consume, hoping to steer them away from the Big Mac to the healthy salad wrap. The only problem: The labels seem to have little effect, reports the Washington Post. While diners acknowledge them, they don’t necessarily act on them.

Eating habits rarely change, according to several studies. Perversely, some diners see the labels yet consume more calories than usual. People who use the labels often don’t need to. (Meaning: They are thin.)

We are unable to balance short-term gains with long-term costs. Many humans are simply really, really impatient. With eating out, the gains are immediate (yummy giant burrito!) and the costs are delayed (staggering bills for heart disease!).

Another problem, reports The Post’s Michael Rosenwald, is that many people still perceive dining out as a “special treat,” meaning you can splurge on dessert. While that may have been true decades ago, going out to eat is now a very regular part of Americans’ diet.

Photo by Roboppy on Flickr.

Some communities face yet another problem when it comes to healthy food choices. They simply have nowhere to go to get them. In so-called “food deserts,” the nearest grocery store isn’t easily reachable and the only options are prepackaged or fast foods high in calories, sugar and carbs. Check out this great video about the obesity crisis by Al Jazeera English’s Fault Lines program.

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