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It used to be that eating at McDonald's was an exercise in indulgence. Whatever the guilty pleasure - french fries, big mac, angus bacon and cheese burger - some customers ate it without a second thought. Not any more.
Now, the nation's largest food chain is listing calorie counts next to each item on the menu board. Jeff Stanton, a McDonald's Owner/Operator, says "I know a lot of folks are trying to be more health conscious and understand what kind of food and beverages they put in their bodies". Stanton's restaurant put up the new menu board last week. He says the calorie counts on the menu board "tell people you do have choices - yes this maybe your favorite - but here's a healthier option as well if that's what you want".
Nicole Adkins, sitting down for breakfast at the Belmont restaurant, said she did notice the menu board but still ordered a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit with hash browns. Adkins said she didn't know how many calories were in her meal. Ed Adkins said "yeah, I looked at the calorie count. I think it's over 600 calories so it definitely makes you think". He said, "in the back of your mind you're thinking maybe I don't eat as much for lunch since I ate this breakfast".
Registered Dietician Sarah Lamb with Presbyterian Hospital believes the calorie counts will make a difference. She says more and more people are eating on the go. "Eating at a fast food restaurant and making a healthier choice is far better than totally avoiding a meal", she says. Lamb, who teaches nutrition information, says the point of posting calorie counts next to each item "is to be able to market to individuals about what they're taking in and give them the opportunity to make healthier choices".
All McDonald's restaurants are expected to have the new menu boards by the end of September.