January 3 2014
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)
Beginning this year, millions of vending machines are required to display calorie information.
The regulation is part of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare.
Vending machine companies that operate 20 or more machines are the only ones affected, but there are more than 10,000 of those companies operating in the U.S.
The idea of the calorie count requirement is that it will better inform consumers about the product they're purchasing and maybe change their purchase, thereby resulting in lower health expenses over time.
Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women's Forum and its "Culture of Alarmism" project doubts consumers will change their minds on which snacks they want to purchase.
"It's really interesting," says Gunlock. "There actually have been some studies on this, which makes me shake my head sometimes at the things that people actually study."
She relates that a teenage student in a Seattle School District wrote in a school newspaper, which went viral, that she buys a pack of cookies if she's nervous about a test.
"And she was saying how absurd it is that, as a 16-year-old girl, she isn't responsible enough to make these decisions," Gunlock explains.
Gunlock adds that she is concerned about the cost of complying with this regulation, as the FDA estimates it will run $24 to $26 million.
In its report on the subject, CNN shows that a Snickers bar contains upwards of 300 calories, whereas a small package of Fig Newtons contains 190 calories.
Meanwhile, OneNewsNow did look up the nutrition label for Fig Newtons. Using information from CalorieCount.About.Com, OneNewsNow found that even though the two bars of fruit and cake do offer less calories, fat and carbohydrates than Snickers, a Snickers bar does contain more protein – if that is something you want to include in your diet.
On a related note, Livestrong.com wrote an article in 2011 saying that Fig Newtons contain added sugars "that are not healthy." Livestrong.com also warned that, because figs are high in fiber, eating a large portion of Fig Newtons may cause constipation, something that affects 15 percent of the population according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.