Now on the menu: Nutrition facts

MK Otniel Schneller presents bill that would require all restaurants to list calorie contents next to their menu items.

nutrition pyramid 88 (photo credit: )
nutrition pyramid 88
(photo credit: )
MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) presented a bill to the Knesset this week that would require all restaurants in Israel to list calorie contents next to their menu items. Schneller told The Jerusalem Post that restaurants should "give all of the information to their customers." He also said that the bill's aim was to change the public's health-related behavior. Registered dietician Linda Beren of St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio, said that this bill does have the potential to change the way people eat. She claimed that one possible outcome could be smaller portion options on menus. "If you want richer, higher calorie foods, you can get the same taste with a smaller portion. Even for dessert, they could make bite-sized portions with berries. It's something delicious, but it doesn't feel as sinful," she said. However, restaurant owners are not welcoming the bill with open arms. Rafi Nahum, co-owner of Olive restaurant in Jerusalem, said that this bill will not benefit in his restaurant. "We're not McDonalds. We can't do that," he said. "If someone wants to count calories - stay home, make your own meal. We're not the health minister." Olive's other owner, David El-Kayam, said that it would be difficult to find out exactly how many calories are in each dish. Labwork would be involved, and Nahum also questions the accuracy of the counting methods. Even if they do figure out how many calories are served up in each dish, El-Kayam has additional reservations. "We sell meat. Meat has a lot of calories." According to, restaurants could be racking up high scores when it comes to their dishes. For example, one cup of cooked spaghetti has 197 calories, and restaurant portions are usually larger. In comparison, a 400-gram piece of broiled flank steak has 720 calories, not including any side dishes or sauces, and a 175 gram hamburger without any condiments has 427 calories. Beren said, "If people actually see in black and white that a quarter-pounder is however many calories, they might choose not to eat it." The Knesset will vote on the bill in the coming months.