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November 12, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Nutritional count-down: menu labeling coming soon(er than you think) to a chain restaurant near you

I can hear it now: “I’ll have the 1000-calorie high-sodium bacon-cheeseburger, a 270-calorie mocha, and call my cardiologist in the morning.”

New York Times food writer Kim Severson hit close to home recently when she reported, “New Yorkers got a harsh dose of calorie reality this summer when restaurants with 15 or more outlets were forced to post the calorie content of food next to the price. The resulting sticker shock has brought parts of a great city to its knees, often to do push-ups.” In today’s P.I., Rebekah Denn followed-up that story, giving it a local spin with an in-depth look at the changes coming down the pike for many chain restaurants in the Seattle area. Beginning January 1, posting calorie-counts — among other nutritional analyses — becomes law in King County. Here’s a taste of what consumers will be consuming:

“They’ll be faced with the 1,000 calories (and 85 grams of fat) in their BLT Salads at The Old Spaghetti Factory and the 1,910 calories in the Jack Daniel’s Ribs & Shrimp at T.G.I. Friday’s. At Starbucks, they’ll be able to judge not just whether they’re in the mood for a tall latte or a mocha, but whether they want to take in the latte’s 150 calories or the mocha’s 270. At Taco Bell, they can decide if the benefits of ordering a 600-calorie Border Bowl are outweighed by the 2,120 milligrams of sodium it contains, nearly an entire day’s recommended allowance.”

Read Rebekah’s full story, plus more on the new law on her blog.

Care to, uh, weigh-in on the controversy? I’m happy to chew the fat right here.

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