Obesity expert Helen Lee offers important advice, reminding readers that there’s no proof that menu labeling policies impact obesity (“Calorie-counting measure on menu,” May 17). Despite its bold tag as an “anti-obesity” measure, there’s no scientific evidence that the San Mateo County proposal to force a handful of restaurants to cover their menus with calorie counts would make the local population lose weight.

Americans consume only one-fifth of our calories at restaurants. Since San Mateo’s proposed ordinance narrowly focuses on a mere 15 restaurants, the policy would impact less than one percent of the average person’s diet — fewer than 20 calories per day. On the other hand, the biggest chunk of the food we eat — 66 percent of our calories — comes from groceries prepared at home. And nutrition labels haven’t curbed our eating habits there.

With an unproven measure that targets only a fraction of our food intake, how can nutrition activists justify the imposed costs and possible unintended consequences of menu labeling? The bottom line is simple: They can’t.

Trice Whitefield
Senior Research Analyst, Center for Consumer Freedom
Washington, D.C.