Keeping count

Torcia Velthuizen
By Torcia Velthuizen February 3, 2017 13:14

Ontario is making it easier for those who count calories but some feel the new rules are more harmful than helpful.

The new regulation is part of the Healthy Menu Choices Act and requires all restaurants with 20 or more locations in Ontario to post the number of calories of all food and drink items on their menu. This includes fast food chains, bakeries, movie theatres and grocery stores.

Luciana Rosu-Sieza, executive director at the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association, said the regulation is harmful to people struggling with eating disorders.

“They already struggle and now they see the calorie count everywhere they go. It can trigger people,” said Rosu-Sieza.

She said a big problem is no other nutritional information is provided. Having more comprehensive info like sodium or different nutritional values in a pamphlet is what she rather see available.

“Calories are only one component. They are fuel for your body. I would rather see restaurants have a pamphlet. Six hundred calories of broccoli and 600 calories of fast-food are very different,” said Rosu-Sieza.

University of Western student Lauren Benson moved to London from Windsor and is a recovered anorexic. The 21-year-old struggled with the eating disorder for two years. She said posting calories on menus is not a true representation of health.

“Nuts are very high in calories, but are very healthy,” said Benson.

Benson said when she was struggling with her illness she did not consider nutritional value and was only concerned with consuming as few calories as possible.

“Seeing calories in food right in front of me would feed my eating disorder mind and make me not want to eat it,” said Benson. “Regardless of its nutritional value… the calorie count would scare me away.”

Benson has since recovered from her eating disorder and is now gaining an online presence where she advocates for health and fitness.

Both Benson and Rosu-Sieza believe as long as the Healthy Menu Choices Act stands, consumers should consider the nutritional value of what they are eating instead of looking at food as just a number.

Torcia Velthuizen
By Torcia Velthuizen February 3, 2017 13:14

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