New US Food Regulation May Turn Fast Food Industry Pro-Healthy

February 22, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. nudge /nʌdʒ/ (v.) – to influence or encourage someone to do something
Example: Fast food advertisements nudge young children to enjoy eating unhealthy food.

2. chain /tʃeɪn/ (n.) – a number of restaurants that is owned by one food company
Example: McDonald’s is one of the most popular fast food chains in the world.

3. vending /vɛn dɪŋ/ (gerund) – the selling of small items in a machine or in a stall, especially food
Example: There are several vending stalls that sell flowers in our street.

4. balanced /ˈbæl ənst/ (adj.) – having all the required nutrients in the right servings
Example: Part of having a balanced diet is eating three times a day at the right time and with the right amount.

5. voluntarily /ˈvɒl ənˌtɛr i li/ (adv.) – of one’s own choice
Example: He voluntarily ate vegetables for a whole month for the sake of his health.


Read the text below.
A new food regulation in the United States might nudge the fast food industry in the right direction.

In November, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a regulation that requires calorie-count labeling on fast food restaurants nationwide. The regulation particularly applies to chain restaurants, eating places, and food facilities with 20 or more locations. This includes major fast food establishments, amusement parks, movie theaters, and vending machines.

The prescribed labels must provide a detailed nutrition content, including total calories and fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium. Establishments are required to print these labels on their menus and menu boards. Furthermore, labels must be visible and equal in size as the name and price of the product.

Calorie-count labeling has long been practiced in some states in the country, such as California and New York. Experts observe that in these states, fast food restaurants are more likely to have nutritious and balanced selections. Starbucks and McDonald’s, for instance, have reintroduced their meals in fewer calories and smaller portions to make their food more attractive to customers.

Experts hope that this practice spreads nationwide. Should this be the case, the fast food industry, known to be the main cause of obesity in the United States, will be advertising healthy eating and small servings to their consumers. Consequently, the regulation may hugely affect the country’s obesity rate, since most Americans consume one-third of their daily calories outside home.

Although the regulation only affects fast food enterprises, the FDA is hoping that small fast food businesses also conform voluntarily.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think your country needs the same regulation? Why or why not?
·         Aside from the places stated above, what other places do you think this regulation should apply to? Why?

Discussion B

·         Is obesity a problem in your country? How is this so?
·         Other than calorie-count labeling, what do you think is a good way to fight and/or avoid obesity? Please explain your answer.

February 22, 2015