Nutritional information in restaurants

There has been an ongoing debate in the UK for a few years now on whether the calorie content of restaurant meals should be displayed but the debate seems to have centred around obesity and the “nanny state”. I haven’t been able to find anything on provision of carbohydrate count for restaurant meals – bviously this would make an enormous difference to diabetes control! Does anyone know of any lobby groups?

What’s the position in the US?

Hi Bananagirl, this is one of my pet rants!!

I’m very happy with the detailed nutritional information given by outfits like McDonald’s and Nando’s but I think they are the exception rather than the norm. Last week I emailed Yo! Sushi asking them why their nutritional information did not have any carb counts. Instead, it is the ‘nanny state’ variety, with calorie and fat counts and SUGAR count as if that was all that was needed!! The reply that came back was that ‘it is not a legal requirement to give the carb count’. I really think they did not understand why having carb count is so important. Good thing that chain serves the worst sushi I have ever had as I will not be going back there again!

Lol i had a similar exchange with itsu a while ago! websites such as livestrong are good for an idea but it’s hard to say how accurate they are. I have all the iphone apps going for carb counting but i still find myself having to take wild guesses! A few weeks ago I had pad thai at Thai Square and used the carbs and cals app to guess the noodles but I’m sure I could taste added sugar in the coconut milk even though the waitress said there wasn’t…

I’m surprised Diabetes UK are staying quiet on this!

A similar debate is ongoing here in the US. As part of the health care reform, in the next few years, chain restaurants will be required to display calorie info on menus and boards. I believe that there are a minimum # of locations required before it is mandatory. I do not believe that it will include carbohydrate information though but could be wrong. In general, I oppose nanny-type regulations, but as I diabetic it can be very frustrating to not have a good carb count!!! Unfortunately, despite the prevalence of D, there just aren’t enough of us that are willing to demand that info to create a free-market demand for it. So I have mixed feelings on the law.

Most chain restaurants here are already pretty good about providing some level of nutritional info in-store and online though, so the law will mostly just make it more accessible. I just went back to check Bertuccis and was happy that they finally put their nutritional data up online. They held out for a long time, but they finally put it out there. It will make bolusing for lab lunches a lot easier!