We all know that the historic health care bill is a little porked up. But some of the hidden goodies are, well, good. One helpful portion of the bill requires all restaurants with 20 or more locations to post nutrition information in an obvious place. I certainly wish all restaurants were included, but this is a good starting point. About 200,000 restaurants, including major fast food chains, will fall under the bill’s umbrella.

New Health Care Bill

Many restaurants are welcoming the change with open arms. Surprising, at first glance, but a closer look reveals that the law could actually save restaurants a little hassle. Currently, many states and even individual cities have their own rules about posting nutrition facts. Big chains have to keep up with all the different requirements in each location. Now, the federal law will trump the state and municipal laws, allowing chains to streamline the process.

In a year or so, after the FDA has drafted the laws, you’ll most likely be able to see the number of calories in a meal listed right next to it on a menu. Hopefully other nutrition info like fat, protein, sugar, and carb amounts will be included as well. What a novel idea! No more having to ask for a pamphlet on nutrition info or seeing it on a wrapper after you’ve already purchased the food.

In the meantime, don’t be shy to ask restaurant servers exactly what is in a particular dish. If the info he or she gives isn’t satisfactory, try a different dish or even a different restaurant.

Fast Fact: New York City was the first place in the country to require the posting of calories in restaurants.

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