The unintended consequences of nutritional disclosures?


New York City recently imposed a new rule requiring that chain restaurants to disclose the number of calories in each menu item next to each menu item, and it's generating criticism from a surprising corner: obesity experts.

Of course most experts think that this is a good rule but, according to the New York Times, at least one nationally-recognized authority believes that "the new rules could backfire - whether by adding to the forbidden-fruit allure of high-calorie foods or by sending patrons away hungry enough that they will later gorge themselves even more."

I'm not buying the "forbidden-fruit" argument. If there is anything new to it, any person who would a burger because it has 900 calories is probably a lost cause anyway.

To me, this is an issue of disclosure: giving consumers more information in an easy and convenient format is almost always a good idea.

Public Citizen
, Center for Science in the Public Interest, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have all expressed their support for the measure, and I'm inclined to side with them.