Category Archives: Nutrition Info

Calorie Labeling and your weekend dinner plans

I am constantly struggling with my weight. If I don’t walk about 5 miles a day I gain weight — and if I eat out with any regularity at all I gain weight. The switch that makes my brain relate what I’m eating to my weight and health just shuts off when I’m at a restaurant. And without that switch — I’m out of control.

Ezra Klein is discussing that experience in his post, Calorie Labeling In Action, today

All quite delicious. When I got back to the office, though, I decided to see what it added up to. First, I looked up the cookie. A solid 450 calories, with 19 grams of fat. Yikes. But what might have actually changed my purchase was knowing the content of my sandwich: According to the nutrition calculator, 525 calories.

The calories in the cookie weren’t startling. But their calories relative to my sandwich proved a bit off-putting. I could pretty much have ordered a second sandwich for the caloric cost. Buying them without the information, it was easy enough to just consider them a side dish. As it happened, the cookie was more like a second lunch. I wouldn’t have ordered a second lunch. Good to know.

I had that EXACT experience with a Subway sandwich and a cookie a few years ago. Their cookies are only in the 200 calorie range but, they’re puny. I got two that day (440 calories) and NEVER did it again.

When it comes to calories knowledge isn’t just power — it’s control. And it’s not just me:

The following table comes from a Health Impact Assessment prepared by the County of Los Angeles on calorie labeling laws. It shows how much of the whole county’s projected weight gain would be averted if calorie labeling got X percent of restaurant patrons to make average decisions that were Y calories smaller

Follow the links and take a look (Ezra has a link to a graph) — it’s pretty impressive! And since it’s likely you won’t find the label on the menu at your favorite restaurant, spend a couple of minutes looking at the nutrition information on their website before you go.

Things that could easily be done better

[Updated] Nevermind (these people are really good at customer service!) . . . .

I met two friends of this blog (Nancy and Beth) at Houlihan’s — and we had a great time. But, you know me: I’m trying to log the nutritional information for everything I eat. So after deciding what I wanted (hamburger, fries & coleslaw) I found a note at the bottom of the menu saying to check for nutritional information. Since the information was available online, I didn’t bother asking the staff for it.

What a laugh! I easily found the menu. But, couldn’t find a thing about the nutritional information until I found this buried in their FAQ:

Nutritional information
We cook almost exclusively from scratch, and our menu items may vary slightly in size and composition from batch to batch. For that reason, we don’t provide nutritional data on our menu items. Additionally, we and our franchise partners may make adjustments in both our menu and recipe content to compensate for seasonal changes and the availability (or lack) of certain raw ingredients. Consequently, it’s very difficult to guarantee the accuracy of any nutritional information we may provide.

After fuming about the absurdity of spending 15 minutes finding THAT out, I sent this message via their comment page:

A note at the bottom of your menu says to see your website for nutritional information. But, your FAQ says that nutritional information is unavailable.

I understand the reasons for that. But, wouldn’t have been kinder if you just said it straight out on your menu? Why was it necessary for me to take the time to hunt through your site to find out the information wasn’t available?

I had a wonderful meal and don’t regret eating it. But, I’m mildly irritated that you made me jump through this hoop.


I’ve already received a pretty standard apology for my trouble:

I would first like to thank you for your patronage at Houlihan’s On BoardWalk Square! I would also like to apologize for the inconvenience to you. I am in communication with our corporate office on this matter. Feel free
to contact me and I will answer any questions I can. Thank-you for bringing this to our attention. And again I apologize!

But I don’t expect anything to change.

Cruising the Diet Blogs

It’s been a long time — too long. Some old friends are having a hard time, some seem well — gone. But there’s still a lot going on:

  • Born Squishy has had a rough time & he’s posting irregularly. If you remember his visits here last fall, stop by to give him some encouragement.

MSG in Conventional Foods

My sister sent me this article and I want to pass this info on to all who may be interested.

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MSG in Conventional Foods: Are the Food Giants Deliberately Poisoning Us?

Web Note: MSG is banned in all organic foods.

MSG – The Slow Poisoning Of America MSG Hides Behind 25+ Names, Such As ‘Natural Flavouring’ MSG Is Also In Your Favorite Coffee Shops And Drive-Ups


I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, so did a friend of mine, John Erb.

He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working for the government.

He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called “The Slow Poisoning of America”.

In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so the scientists have to create them. They make these morbidly obese creatures by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates; causing rats (and humans?) to become obese. They even have a title for the fat rodents they create: “MSG-Treated Rats”. Continue reading »

E4T Fruit and Vegetable Bar. Summer Salads can be good

The Fruit and Vegetable Bar is a daily discussion of ways to work more fruits and vegetables into our diets. We’re aiming at the 5-9 servings a day.n And to realize that it’s not as intimidating a challenge as we thought it was.

I noticed yesterday when I stopped by that diner to buy my fruit salad (and I’m glad to report that I only ate 1/3 of it yesterday!) that they had some very nice vegetable salads also. The sad thing was that there selection of dressing packets didn’t include a single low/non fat dressing.3 So I don’t think I’ll be counting on them regularly for my lunch salads. But, it’s nice to find sources of emergency food.

And Saturday, I’ll go to the local Farmer’s Market, buy my own assorted fruits and vegetables and make my salads myself! (keeping my fingers crossed)

What are your plans for fresh fruits and vegetables today?