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Why Calorie Labeling Won’t Help Our Obesity Epidemic

Soon there will be calorie counts on just about everything you consume, including concession stands at the movies.

It won’t work.

Sure, we all want to curve the obesity epidemic weighing down our society. But, this is an ill-conceived measure, little more than a PR move from Big Food. No doubt someone outside that industry will see it as a step in the right direction, which it is in a way, if they are content with half-way measures that do little more than make us feel good.

On one hand, caloric content of foods will likely raise the level of awareness of this problem. But, will it have a significant impact? Will it reverse the epidemic that is breaking our health care system?

Sadly, the answer is no. Nothing will work until we courageously face the addicting nature of processed foods, especially sugars, an unfortunately neglected issue in practically all discussions at all levels seeking to help Americans prevent most diseases.

Only behavioral approaches, public and family support, and taxes (think the recently passed soda tax in Berkeley, CA) have been shown to curve addictions to alcohol and tobacco, for example. It will be no different with food addictions.