On January 1st, 2017, the Province of Ontario became Canada’s first province or territory to introduce menu labelling under the Healthy Menu Choices Act. With this new Act in place, food service providers with 20 or more locations—like restaurants, movie theatres, gas stations and more—must display the number of calories for standard food items on menus. You may have noticed these new numbers at restaurants over the past year.
In this episode, we speak with Dr. David Hammond, a public health researcher at the University of Waterloo who’s known for his research on a number of health interventions for reducing chronic diseases. We ask Dr. Hammond how things are going so far in Ontario —and what the latest research tells us about menu labelling’s effectiveness.
Dr. Hammond tells us how people are using this new information. He describes how having calories listed doesn’t mean we’re revolutionizing our diets, but people have been found to substitute items for healthier options. He explains that an astounding percentage of the population supports menu labelling— and he argues that this intervention is having an overall meaningful impact and is part of a larger trend towards healthier eating.