Do you know what you’re eating?

Updated
A muffin on display at a Panera Bread Co restaurant in Chicago February 12, 2009.
A muffin on display at a Panera Bread Co restaurant in Chicago February 12, 2009.
John Gress/ReuterS

Restaurants across the nation are rushing to cut down on their dish’s calorie counts in preparation for a proposed federal bill that would require restaurants with twenty or more sites to disclose calorie information to consumers.

“Many restaurants are reworking recipes, swapping in whole milk for cream or putting less oil in cooking pans. Some are adding less sauce to dishes or offering smaller portions. Many are creating lower-calorie sections on menus or sticking to calorie guardrails, designing dishes to come in under 500 calories, for example,” The Wall Street Journal wrote on Tuesday.

“It’s always a bad sign if someone’s selling you a product and they don’t want to tell you what’s in it,” Cycle co-host Ari Melber said on Tuesday’s show.

Without calorie counts, consumers can be deceived as to the healthiness of their order. A “gourmet veggie club” from Jimmy John’s may appear to be the healthier choice in comparison to the “ultimate porker” but it actually contains 210 more calories than the latter.

The quick hand foods may appear to be a light breakfast, but they are not as healthy as one might think. As Melber pointed out on Tuesday’s show, a blueberry muffin has 444 calories although he believed it was a “healthy little item to start the day…there’s fruit involved…”

“Even if we have the nutritional facts out there for us there’s a lot still hidden,” Cycle co-host Abby Huntsman said. “Like the sugar content, which a lot of people say is a killer.”

There are many options you can choose to eliminate massive contributors of calories. Replacing crispy chicken with grilled chicken in a “Chinese Chicken Salad” can eliminate about 50% of the calories, according to ACTIVE.com.

The National Consumer League suggests another way to cut those calories. Ask the waiter to remove the bread basket when dining out, ask for sauce and dressing on the side and turn down value meal deals that usually offer larger sizes of unhealthy sides such as French fries.

“I think [calorie counts] should be on every restaurant [menu],” Huntsman said. “The only way to begin fighting obesity is to enable people to make the best choices for themselves.”

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Do you know what you're eating?

Updated