Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has posted a personal piece at his county website explaining why he pushed to require fast-food stores to list the calories of their fare on menus. Yaroslavsky says it goes back to his experience with diabetes:
Eight years ago, before I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I was a reckless eater. I loved burgers and fries and strawberry shakes. But then, like now, I was also a runner whose weight would often creep upwards. So sometimes I’d pass on the fries to ease back on the calories.
What I didn’t know until recently—and what millions of fast-food eaters still don’t know—is that my cherished shake packed more calories than the burger and fries combined, a whopping 1,000-plus. How could I know? While the menus had plenty of enticing pictures of cheese-smothered burgers, there wasn’t a word about calories, fat or sugar.
These days, my very life depends on knowing more about what I eat than how it tastes. I’ve completely changed my eating habits and probably given myself an extra 20 years. But that kind of dietary diligence doesn’t come easy—an unacceptable reality especially given the alarming rise of obesity among our young people....
I know, from my own experience, that many of you are hungry for ways to live healthier and want information to help you make choices.
For me, this may mean logging my weight every day for the past eight years or running a couple extra miles on the morning after my traditional birthday dinner at Lawry’s. For you, it may mean simply saying no to a milk shake. Whatever the case, you need to know the facts.
Yaroslavsky's page includes a little health quiz about the calories in four McDonald's items.