Mar 25, 2019

Counting calories

Peter Thompson / McClatchy Tribune

California legislature last month approved a law stating that fast food restaurants with more than 20 locations are required to post the number of calories for items on their menu.

Effective July 1, the calorie count law, as it is informally referred, standardizes how fast food outlets list their calorie count.

At the Fresno State’s campus food court, located in the University Student Union, restaurants will have to reconsider promoting less fattening options on their menu.

Student Recreational Center’s Fitness Programs Coordinator Maia Jost said that students seeking advice have approached her on how to lose weight. Jost suggests being aware of the calories they take in.

“It depends on what your goals are,” Jost said. “You burn more calories when you’re at rest so you have to have to burn more calories than what you eat.”

Calories are the energy people get from food. In order to maintain a healthy body, individuals need to consume the same amount of calories to be burned-off during regular activities.  Excess consumption of calories, however, can result in obesity or heart failure.

The amounts of calories taken in are dependent upon the physical needs of each individual. Specific body types, gender and the level of activity each person gets all factors into the amount of calories needed.

There is no definite amount of how much calories one person should take in on a daily basis, but there is a certain amount suggested in case the person is interested in how to maintain his/her figure.

Jost said that there are many websites out there to help students in calculating their Basal Metabolic Rate (calorie intake). Preferably when a person is about to rest, he/she should multiply their weight by 10 and that is the amount of calories to be burnt off at rest. During the time when they are active, it is preferable to take in at least 2,400 calories a day.

According to Jost, calorie counting isn’t difficult. Jost said that when going out to restaurants, the calorie counts for its items are usually posted on the website.

“The easiest way to keep track of what you’re about to eat is to set a goal for yourself first then look at the menu beforehand and see the calorie count,” Jost said.

With the new law in place, the Student Union’s food court has already made changes to some of their menus.

Subway has recently posted a nutritional fact sheet on their sneeze guards for its bread, toppings and add-ons. Panda Express has an alternative menu with items containing less than 250 calories per serving called “Wok Smart.”

Although the law has been in effective since the fall semester began, some students are unaware of the changes made to menus throughout the state.

Community health major Natali Berruecos said that she didn’t notice there was a calorie count placed on menus.

“I don’t look at it. It’s good for people that care, but I just want to eat so I don’t really look at it,” Berruecos said.

Other students have been counting calories before the law was passed.

“I didn’t look at the calorie count in the menu, but I’m a sporty guy so I keep a rough estimate of my calorie intake and try not to go over it too much,” said Criminology major, Jaremy Caluag.

Fresno State’s Health Center Nutritionist, Stephanie Arnett, said that for students who want to go on a diet, calorie counting is an investment.

“I do suggest that if there’s something they eat frequently, they should be aware of the calorie count in the food. It’s helpful information,” Arnett said.

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