In response to regulations in the Affordable Care Act, restaurants with 20 or more locations must now display the total calories of their menu items.
The calorie display is an attempt to make it easier for consumers to get better informed about the choices they make when dining out.
"Give them an opportunity to know more about the food choices that they make, and especially to know that wherever you see a McDonalds, you'll be able to make a good choice at a good price for you and and your family," said Sybil Pici, a McDonald's spokeswoman.
The new regulations also help with a local program, Por Vida, that encourages consumers to make healthier choices.
"Por Vida is a program that we established a few years ago at the Health Department in partnership with the restaurant industry to help restaurants put healthy choices on the menus," said Kathy Shields, Chronic Disease Prevention Manager with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.
Meals that have an entree and two sides, that contain less than 700 calories, less than 23 grams of total fat, less than 8 grams of saturated fat, less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, and less than 750 milligrams of sodium get the Por Vida seal of approval.
Shields said that many consumers will be surprised to find that there are a lot of items on fast food menus that make the grade.
"People don't necessarily come here (to fast food restaurants) looking for healthy choices. So it's nice to know there are lots of things on the menu - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - that meet our criteria," Shields said.
Whether the added cost of having to display the calorie information on the menu is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for those items remains to be seen.
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