Fit vs. Fiction's Blog

Calorie Counts on Menus are Misleading and Dangerous. Don’t Be Fooled!


Last week I wrote about my complete disgust and anger over the recent law that was passed in Ontario making calories on restaurant menus mandatory. I explained how this type of action will not only be useless in helping those it’s intended for, but will actually cause damage to countless others.
My article resulted in 3 different reactions from people:
1. Thank you! I thought I was the only one that felt this way and was really upset by it!
2. I never thought of it that way; that totally makes sense.
3. I like it. Now that I know how many calories are in something, I’ll know if I can eat it or not.

Sadly, the government is appealing to that last group of people, the ones who have had the same message shoved down their throats (pun partially intended) their entire lives. That message being: Calories are BAD.

But are they?

It’s time to readjust our thinking and look at all the facts!
After publishing my last article, I heard from so many people, from all walks of life who are really upset about this and question the government’s motivations, because it sure as hell can’t be to make Canadians healthier!
For those who are still confused, I’m going to list as clearly as I can, HOW this law is more HARMFUL than helpful.
WHO is this hurting?
1. People battling obesity and other related illnesses
2. People battling eating disorders
3. Everyone else
1. The people it is intended to help, the people who are at risk for illnesses related to obesity, are getting misleading information that will only impede their best efforts.
2. The people who are battling eating disorders and whose disorders thrive on calorie counts and who are at severe risk of relapse every time they’re faced with a number next to their food options.
Eating disorders are extremely misunderstood and far more dangerous than most people realize. They have the HIGHEST mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Calorie counting is a weapon of the disorder, not a tool of recovery.
If you’re wondering why the government should care about a small minority of the population dealing with eating disorders, you should know that the number of sufferers is much higher than you’d expect, and this law pretty much guarantees that that number will continue to rise.

But it’s not just ED sufferers who are at risk; so are you. I am consistently hearing from people who are sharing with me, how even though they’ve never been super focused on calorie counts when eating out, they’re surprised at how much anxiety these menus are inducing. They can no longer simply go into a restaurant and order what they’re craving, without feeling the need to second guess their choice and possibly choose something they “should Have’ over what they “want” to have. All that does is suck the joy out of dining out and make people feel lousy about food. We’re supposed to listen to our hunger cues, not ignore them and then risk overcompensating later on when left unsatisfied by our “healthier” choice. Our society already has warped ideas when it comes to food and dieting, this is only making things worse.
So many parents are sickened by watching their kids suddenly start focusing on and worrying about menu numbers when out for dinner. Kids are already being inundated with negative messages about body image and weight from the media, this is the last thing they need.
What’s the ministry of health thinking??
According to health minister Deb Matthews, The law is designed to combat childhood obesity.
And yet, according to research stated in a petition opposing this law, started by Andrea Lamarre, co- chair of the Waterloo Wellington Eating Disorders Coalition , it will have the opposite effect:
According to the research: “Those who are most targeted by such initiatives may actually be at a greater risk of developing eating disorders. A recent study by Lebow, Sim & Kransdorf (2015) revealed that adolescents who had been overweight or obese “represent a substantial portion of treatment-seeking adolescents with restrictive eating disorders,” and argue that extreme weight loss is problematic in the adolescent context in particular.
Which means that focusing on calories and weight loss without proper information, won’t result in healthier kids, just SICKER ones.

Basically, if you think there aren’t that many Canadians battling eating disorders…give it a year, that number will change if this law doesn’t.
Calories USED to be the enemy. But that’s old school thinking. What we know now, is that It has MUCH LESS To do with how many calories are in something, than what those calories are made of. Would 100 calories of candy be a healthier choice than 200 calories of avocado? Not in the least. Would it be healthier to choose the lower calorie french fries over the more caloric salad with quinoa and almonds? Not at all. We need to get away from counting calories and move toward education around ingredients.
Calories are energy.
We need to load our bodies up with the healthiest version of those suckers as possible. Of course, we don’t want to be taking in “too many”, but purely looking at number and deciding off of that, is not helpful or healthful.


If a person drinks 3 liters of pop a day and switches to lower calorie diet pop, will they lose weight? Could be. Will they gain Health? Not a chance.
Sugar isn’t great, but chemicals are not a better choice.
Counting calories is an old fashioned, useless way to go about getting healthier and that judging a food simply by it’s calories is similar to judging a person simply by their age. We can’t assume that every 40 year old woman will be healthier than every 35 year old woman, or that all 50 year old men are exactly the same. There is so much more that goes into health and fitness than numbers. The most experienced health and nutrition experts are steering their clients away from measuring food and leading them towards understanding it.
Bonnie Wisener, nutritionist at shift nutrition and wellness, agrees,
“Different foods have varying effects on our health that go way beyond weight. For example, trans fats can lead to inflammation, insulin resistance and
Cardiac disease, regardless of their calorie count. Paying attention to specific food selections can lead to the same, or even better results than simple calorie restrictions, and most importantly, to improved health.

To clarify: Eating foods with less calories because you think it’s the answer to losing weight, is not your best course of action. Eating healthier foods will improve your overall health.”


Restaurants hate it too!

I’ve spoken with several restaurant owners and servers who have their own issues with the menu changes.
Menu changes are expensive and some restaurants are seeing a drop in revenue.
Nobody wants to lose money, so some restaurants are finding ways around this. I spoke with a bartender at a popular family restaurant chain, who shared with me that since seasonal menus don’t require calories to be listed, their restaurant creates a different “seasonal” menu every month! By switching the foods around every few weeks, they can avoid negative reactions from customers and fines from the government.
Another possibility is that in order to capitalize on the lower calorie menu obsession, they’ll start formulating their food to have less calories by cutting nutritional corners. Is that really what we want?

But Marci,” my critics argue, “ at least this is a first step!”
Yup, one step, in the WRONG direction! I’d rather they take ZERO steps than cause more damage. If in an effort to solve one problem, you create a different problem while not actually solving the first problem..What’s the point?!
If you need an appendectomy and the doctor says, “The first step is to cut you open, and then I’ll stop there for awhile,” would that be ok? No, it wouldn’t. If you’re not gonna finish the surgery, find another way to help the patient.


So what CAN we do?

First, stay OUT of restaurants. Kindly, keep your laws off my dinner table when I’m trying to enjoy a meal out. It’s a treat, I want to enjoy it.
BUT… There IS a better answer.
In 2006 The WHO (World Health Organization) ordered the food industry to take action in the fight against obesity. The Netherlands took the lead with The Choices programme. They were the first, but many other countries have followed. In a nutshell, an independent group of researchers, using a strict criteria, analyze all the products in the grocery store. Those that pass their tests based on things like calories, trans fats, saturated fats, dietary fibre and sodium, are given a label letting consumers know they are healthier choices. It comes down to CHOICE and information. The best part about this program, is that so many companies want to earn the healthy label so they are making their products more nutritious to do so! In 2016 alone, 180,000 products were reformulated by reducing sugar and sodium content and increasing dietary fiber.

Healthier products, healthier consumers.

This highlights what’s GOOD about a product instead of just throwing ominous numbers at us.
Final word:
Who is at risk under the Healthy Menu Choices Act?
Who will be helped?

It’s time for the government to stop pretending to care about our health and actually DO something to improve it!fvfpo


Did she really just say that?? My experience w/ Prejudice at the Toronto airport

Posted in Uncategorized by fitvsfiction on September 17, 2012
Tags: , , ,

As I’ve mentioned, I flew into Montreal for my summer camp reunion this past weekend and it was AMAZING. What wasn’t amazing, however, was the experience I had with the nasty couple who were in line ahead of me at the security gate.

The couple were in their 5os and seemed fairly pleasant until it was their turn to place their belongings in the white bins and send them down the conveyor belt. The woman sneered at the young, asian security guard and said with annoyance, ” Do ya think you could pass us some bins?!”

Really? Was that tone neccessary? Seemed pretty rude to me.

Then the guard told the couple they needed to place their jackets in the bins as well.

“WHAT DID SHE SAY??” barked the woman, who was far more confused by this request than any sane person would have been.



She was not a nice person.

At this point, I kept smiling and rolling my eyes at the young guard as if to say, “Don’t worry about her, she’s a tool.”

Next was the walk through. She walked through the scanner and beeped. (of course she did). With a huge, irritated sigh she stepped back and walked through again. And beeped again.

Another guard (whose ethnicity happened to be different than hers) asked her if she was wearing a belt.

“NOOOOOOOO! I am NOT wearing a belt! This is stupid.” she answered through gritted teeth.

Walk through attempt # 3

Failure #3

I thought she was going to LOSE IT, until the guard asked, ” Do you have your phone on you?”


“Oh. Ha, ha. I forgot that my phone was in my pocket. sorry. Isn’t that funny?”

Actually, NO. It wasn’t funny at all, ya Numskull.

She finally gets through and it’s time to pick up her bag. The young guard asks her to open it. Uh..oh. Turns out she had a bottle of liquid that was OVER the size limit allowed.

“Oh, come on! It’s just syrup for my grandson! It’s his Jelly Belly syrup!”


“Can’t I just take it?”

The officer says she can’t and tells her she’s sorry, but it will have to stay behind.

She KNEW the rules. We ALL knew the rules. Apparently, she felt the rules didn’t apply to her. Just as I was grabbing my bag from the conveyor belt and was ready to finally leave the company of this obnoxious woman and her husband, she turned to me and said…

(ready for this?)

” It’s so SAD that in this country, there aren’t more WHITE faces working here!”


At this moment, I thought about how disgusted I was by her comment, but also about the fact that this couple was very aggressive and would be out of my life forever as soon as I walked away. I didn’t have to say anything. But then I remembered a post I shared last week, written by my friend, Lori day, about how horrible she felt when she was in a situation with people she didn’t know, who were saying racist things she didn’t condone, yet chose to say nothing. The shame she felt afterwards inspired her to share it with others as a way of reminding herself that by not speaking against something you don’t believe in, is equal to condoning it.

I have always been grateful to my mother for raising her kids to believe that we are neither above nor beneath anybody else and that ALL people deserve acceptance and respect.

After a short pause, I looked at this woman and simply said, ” Actually, it’s because we live in this country that I’m happy not to see only white faces. I LOVE the diversity!”

The woman looked at me with disappointment and then said, “Well, that’s just my humble opinion.”

Then she said nothing at all.

Believe me, I don’t believe for one second that my comment in any way, changed the way she feels about people who don’t look like her. But maybe, it’ll keep her from assuming that everyone who looks like her also thinks like her and maybe she’ll keep her ignorant, hurtful comments to herself.