Is Ignorance Chocolate-Covered Bliss?

 Is New York's decision to post calorie counts is a necessary one? Or would you rather not know?

Since moving to New York City in August, I have been confronted on a daily basis with the city’s decision to require all major food retailers to post calorie information. Well, I have to say, the effort – while a very important and necessary one – is killing me.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I am all about knowing what’s in our food, and I like to stick with a think-before-you-chow-down approach to eating the majority of the time.

But I am struggling a bit with having those (sometimes very high) calorie counts staring back at me in the face when I choose to pop into Starbucks for a latte or get a quick smoothie at Jamba Juice.

And it’s not because I don’t think Americans should be educated, nor is it because I don’t already know much of this information. I take forever at the grocery store because (A) I love food shopping and (B) I am an avid food label reader.

But I am also a gal who rarely indulges in such treats. (I would love for the reason to be because I am oh-so-healthy, but instead it is because I am oh-so-broke.) A latte is a once-in-a-while kind of thing and a few bites of an ultra-high-calorie meal is pretty much a never (I brown bag it to work).

Still, when I do indulge, I want to do just that – indulge. And I really don’t want to think about every little morsel and sip that is touching my lips.

I know this probably sounds a bit whiny and even kind of ignorant. But the truth is I am a healthy person on a nearly 24/ 7 basis. I eat the right foods and I exercise, and really, really try to get to bed at a decent time.

So, sometimes I want to order up and not have to think too much about it. I am a true believer in the notion that even the healthiest of us needs to kick back sometimes. Otherwise, we would go health nuts-o.

I mean, I want to have my occasional cake and eat it, too – without putting so much thought into, “Is it healthy? How many calories does it have? Oh, this is bad for me … I shouldn’t be eating it …”

But, alas, I will admit that these measures are necessary, especially when the obesity numbers continue to shoot through the roof. I applaud New York for seeing the red flags and attempting to put a dent in an increasingly worsening problem.


I am curious: How do you feel about cities’ (like New York) decisions to post calorie counts at major food chains? Do you appreciate the effort or would you rather be left in the dark?



Caroline Shannon has been a professional journalist for six years, working for several publications, including Redbook magazine, Ideal Bite,, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and First30Days. She is a certified Pilates instructor and takes a long, hard run just as seriously as she does several scoops of Purely Decadent's Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl vegan ice cream. She can be reached at

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