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Believe it or not, there are worse things to eat than a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
One little-known component of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is a mandate that the Food and Drug Administration establish rules requiring fast-food restaurants to post calorie counts on menus.
The agency has been struggling to implement such rules, but many restaurants have already taken the initiative. McDonald’s went first, and has been followed by Subway, Panera Bread and now Starbucks, MarketWatch says.
The site took a look at the highest-calorie menu items at several chains and figured out how many calories you’re getting per dollar. Here’s some of what it found:
- Subway’s Mega Melt on flatbread with egg has 670 calories ($1 buys 206 calories).
- Dunkin’ Donuts’ Frozen Mocha Coffee Coolatta with cream has 730 calories ($1 buys 166 calories).
- Panera’s steak and white cheddar on a French baguette has 980 calories ($1 buys 112 calories).
- McDonald’s Big Breakfast with syrup and margarine has 1,350 calories ($1 buys 286 calories).
- Pizza Hut’s14-inch Meat Lover’s pan pizza has 470 calories per slice ($1 buys 376 calories).
Again, these are the highest-calorie menu items offered at those chains. In contrast, a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese has 750 calories. If you add medium fries to make it a meal equivalent to the breakfast, the total damage is only 1,130 calories.
The new labeling may be working to reduce how many calories people consume. A recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzed consumption in Washington after the state’s own menu labeling requirements were implemented, and found an average decrease of up to 154 calories per purchase, depending on the restaurant type.
A separate study found that adults underestimate calorie counts by as much as 20 percent without labels, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says. Teens were off by as much as 34 percent.