Taste and Price Still Trump Nanny-State Menu Labeling

Restaurant menu labeling, an ongoing social experiment conducted by anti-obesity crusaders, has consistently failed to save citizens from themselves—which leaves us wondering when nanny-state calorie counters will call it quits and cut their losses.

About twelve months ago, America’s foremost anti-obesity fanatics were hyping the idea that scaring restaurant patrons silly with calorie counts would affect their meal choices. Professional obesity hysterics like Kelly Brownell and David Ludwig knew there was no credible scientific evidence to support their agenda, but pushed forward anyway in the name of “public health.”

Now a new NYU School of Medicine study supported (in part) by Brownell's own employer (Yale University) once again confirms that menus that list calorie counts are ineffective weapons in the modern Battle of the Bulge:

[T]he study did not find a change in the number of calories purchased at fast-food restaurants after labeling went into effect.

The way food tastes was considered the most important reason teens bought it, while price was a consideration for barely half of teens.

Almost 60% of parents said they decided what food their child ate.

[T]he eating habits of the low-income, minority children and teens in this study were barely influenced by the presence of calorie labeling.

Restaurants could have been spared the legislation had Brownell and Ludwig not opined in July 2009: “For some of the most important public health problems today, society does not have the luxury to await scientific certainty.”

This is why we wait for evidence.

As we noted last month, none of this new research really matters at this point, since Congress passed a health care bill last year mandating menu labeling in all chain restaurants. But even before labeling was law, the science was (and still is) stacked against food cops intent on dictating our diets.

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