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  • In New York City, most chain restaurants are required to post calorie information on their menus.

  • Yeah, the barbacoa burrito.

  • And soon, because of Obama care,

  • all restaurants with more than 20 locations will be required to post calorie counts.

  • It’s like how the FDA requires labels on packaged foods.

  • Yeah it is pretty basic. When you know how much youre eating, you tend to eat less.

  • Now, Section 8150, the New York City Health Code states,

  • "The Health Department will cite violations if you fail to post calorie information."

  • But the health department doesn’t verify the accuracy of that information.

  • They told me no one checks to make sure these numbers are correct.

  • So I thought I’d assume that responsibility.

  • The actual process of testing caloric content is incredibly complicated and horribly boring.

  • It involved two food scientists

  • who were totally patient and answered all of my stupid questions.

  • Is it pronounced calorimeter?

  • (repeats calorimetercalorimeter)

  • Okay, got it!

  • We needed the resources that the Obesity Research Lab at St. Luke’s Hospital.

  • It involved precision beyond anything I’m capable of.

  • And a lot of Math.

  • It took us 10 hours to test 5 items.

  • How much do you stand behind today’s results?

  • 100%

  • Now, there is very little science put into the selection of food to be tested.

  • I just tried to pick all the foods that I might eat in a single day.

  • Some from restaurants and some packaged.

  • These muffins are everywhere in this city but the nutritional information is impossible to find.

  • Theyre called "Yogurt Muffins".

  • And the guy at the bodega said, “They are low fat.”

  • -Low fat? -Yeah, low fat.

  • This one signall yogurt muffin in this side.

  • Theyre pretty healthy.

  • YeahThe best!

  • Alright, thank you!

  • There is no nutritional information on their website so I called them and they faxed me the data.

  • According to them, the muffin had an incredible 640 calories.

  • And it was even more incredible to find out,

  • they are actually 734.7 calories.

  • That’s more calories than two McDonald’s Egg McMuffins.

  • Thoughts on the results from the Nutty Banana?

  • No! I suspected that it’s gonna be over.

  • Next stop, the Frappuccino.

  • A grande with whip cream is supposed to have 370 calories.

  • The actual count was 392.9.

  • I can forgive that.

  • The girls at Starbucks like me.

  • Here you go!

  • They probably just gave me an extra squirt.

  • I used to put this online calorie calculator to add up all the ingredients in my burrito.

  • It came to whopping 1,175 calories.

  • Not a huge surprise, this thing is as big as my foot.

  • Actual count was just over 10% more which is an understandable margin

  • but nonetheless a lot of unaccounted for calories.

  • A favorite snack of mine are these vegetarian sandwiches.

  • They taste okay and are Vegan, Kosher

  • and according to the label, only have 228 calories.

  • Plus, in big bold italic red letters, it says, “HEALTHY”.

  • And thishealthysandwich took the trophy for the biggest inaccuracy.

  • Actual calorie content was nearly double what the label said,

  • giving this sandwich about the same amount of calories as a BigMac.

  • Not cool!

  • And lastly, Subway!

  • I just didn’t believe that a sandwich this big could only have 360 calories

  • but I guess that guy Jared knows what he’s talking about.

  • The only item tested coming under the declared amount was Subway.

  • Now, this isn’t a conclusive study.

  • I didn’t test multiple samples.

  • But I did find that on this day, if I’d base my diet on the calorie count provided to me,

  • because of the discrepancies in those counts,

  • I would have consumed an extra 548 calories.

  • So, today’s 548 calorie discrepancy means I unknowingly ate a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese

  • or 2 hamburgers worth of calories

  • or 2 Snickers

  • or a couple of donuts

  • which all of that is the question.

  • If the requirement to post the information is going to be enforced,

  • why not also enforce the accuracy?

  • Bye again! Thanks for your help!

  • Bye! Thanks for having me!

  • Bye!

In New York City, most chain restaurants are required to post calorie information on their menus.

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Calorie Detective: The Real Math Behind Food Labels | Op-Docs | The New York Times

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