There are plenty of reasons to go out for a meal; a quick lunch, a romantic dinner, celebrity spotting, or just because you don’t feel like cooking.  But when you go out for dinner, you’re expecting a tasty meal, but should you also expect it to have little or no salt or fat?  Should you be able to get your food deep-fried in trans-fat if you want it?  This has become a rather heated area of debate: should a restaurant be able to serve you what you want, or should the food be regulated?

States Implementing Calorie Counts On Menu

Under the Obama Health Care Regulations, chain restaurants with over 20 locations, bakeries, drive-through lanes, grocery stores, coffee chains and even vending machines must now list the calorie count of each item.  For some, this is an eye-opening experience (for example, many salads at California Pizza Kitchen has more calories than their pizza), for others, they feel like the government is trying to regulate what they eat.  Those who argue that a restaurant should not be forced to prominently display the calorie count of their food items say that they feel they are being forced to only eat certain items (healthier items) instead of what they chose to eat.  Many have likened this choice to being a deeply held personal freedom, though no one has screamed out give me fries, or give me death!  Additionally, many believe food items with a high calorie count are likely to be pulled from menus, thereby limiting a persons restaurant options.  Those in favor of this regulation point to the fact that a person is still able to order whatever they chose, and that the government is just providing more information.  Additionally, many Americans suffer from being obese and obesity related health issues, by providing this information, the hope is that people make more intelligent decisions.


Should States Further Regulate Menu Items By Capping Sodium Levels?

If we can agree that having information is a good thing, can we also agree that food items should contain a reasonable amount of sodium (salt)?  This again falls into a person’s personal choice.  If someone wants to eat a P.F. Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles with Pork (that contains enough sodium for 3.5 days), should the government stop them from doing so?  Realistically, the person who eats that type of food is likely to suffer from heart issues (those who have a higher sodium intake are 50% more likely to have higher blood pressure) which puts a strain on our entire country (through medical bills, lack of work, etc).  But should the government be able to regulate the amount of sodium in food, and if so, how do you cap the amount of sodium in a food item?