Now this from the Business Record’s health desk: There’s a new federal rule that requires a broader range of chain restaurants — not just the biggies like McDonald’s — to disclose calorie counts on food items

Some of the big chains have had to do this since 2010, but now midsize and regional restaurants and grocery stores with more than 20 locations will have to. 

This is a godsend to anyone who is trying to buck a national trend that has left 70 percent of Americans either obese or just plain overweight. There are many of us who are trying to make smarter choices. 

But for some, this will just suck the fun out of dining out.

For example, who really wanted to know that Bubba Gump’s shrimp chowder delivers 1,764 calories and 50 grams of fat? Or, closer to home, that the wonderful sesame chicken at Hy-Vee weighs in at 790 calories and 37 grams of fat? (Then again, there are dishes that are half that or less on the menu.)

Continue reading for more on the new rule. Read more

The head of the Food and Drug Administration told the Chicago Tribune that studies have shown the menu labels often lead people to trim 30 to 50 calories a day from their intake, saving 3 to 5 pounds a year before they even get serious about a diet. 

I’ve become a big fan of Blaze Pizza downtown, which can put together a fine pizza with a total of 850 calories. Up the street, Domino’s sells a medium Memphis BBQ pizza with 1,600 calories. Both, to their credit, have apps and programs that let you build you own pizza, watching the calories as you pick a crust, sauce and ingredients. Or pick out a specialty pizza with fewer calories. But it’s up to you to make the ultimate decision: how many slices to eat.