The calorie police are ready to enforce the law

Lee Friday – May 27, 2017

“As of January 1, 2017, all food-service chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario must post the number of calories in the food and drink items they sell. This is part of the Healthy Menu Choices Act.”[1]

This is what the government is telling the owners of restaurants (emphasis added):

“By providing the number of calories on your menus, tags and labels, you will be helping your customers make more informed choices about what they eat and drink.”[2]

Because,

“Knowing how many calories are in our food and drinks is part of getting the right amount of energy we need every day.”[3]

This is complete nonsense. People wishing to follow a healthy lifestyle cannot make more informed choices about what they eat and drink simply by counting calories.

A medium banana has 30% more calories than a slice of commercially produced white bread. However, the banana is a very healthy food choice, whereas the bread has almost no nutritional value. A medium avocado has twice the calories and at least twice the nutritional value of the banana. Proper nutrition is the key, which means the quality of the calories we consume is far more important than the quantity. This is important to understand for those who are overweight and want to make healthier food choices. Counting calories on menus will do them no good.

The government says “Inspectors from local public health units will visit all businesses covered by the law, and will also respond to any complaints about a business not following the law. This could lead to education, a warning, and then a fine if they continue not to follow the law.”[4] The restaurant chain Freshii believes counting calories is misleading and will comply with the law only under the threat of fines.

How do we determine the morality of a law? One of the conditions which must be met is that the law must apply equally to all. The calorie law applies only to “food-service chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario.” If the government is genuinely concerned for our welfare, why does the law not apply to all businesses that serve food? This is not unusual, as this is often the case with government-made-laws. There are always exemptions. Politicians pontificate about equality, but then they make laws which do not apply equally to all citizens. In our case, the government also exempts itself – excused from compliance are correctional facilities, as well as elementary and secondary public schools,[5] each of which have more than 20 locations in the province.

The government creates severe economic hardship for all citizens when it tells people how to run their businesses. I have written about this here. Furthermore, if the government is genuinely concerned for our welfare, why does it allocate resources to the calorie police, while the majority of murders, rapes, and robberies remain unresolved?

Update, August 1, 2017 – Related article: How the Obesity Epidemic Got Started, and How We Can End It

 

[1] https://www.ontario.ca/page/calories-menus#section-5

[2] https://www.ontario.ca/page/calories-menus-information-businesses

[3] https://files.ontario.ca/menu_labelling_one_pager_for_public.pdf

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.ontario.ca/page/calories-menus-information-businesses#section-1

2 thoughts on “The calorie police are ready to enforce the law

  1. Barry Cousins says:

    I can’t universally say the calorie counts are a bad thing, but they are misleading if you don’t include the other dimensions of nutrition.

    The writer’s points are all valid, but I’d rather know the calorie count for the especially misleading foods such as like restaurant salads. Salad dressing can be a very high percentage of one’s calorie intake. Soups can also be deceiving.

    But at the end of the day, our educational system has turned out a lot of people that can’t distinguish between bread and fruit on a nutritional level. Canada’s Food Guide has done nothing to help this debacle.

    A seriously overweight, visibly unhealthy government-employed “nutritionist” once sat in my living room and preached low-fat cream cheese on gluten-free buns as the healthy alternative to a fruit breakfast. The ingredients list made the calorie count irrelevant.

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