New Yorkers are by now used to calorie counts posted on restaurant menus everywhere, even at Starbucks. As is their intention, calories are now a glaring factor in your decision between a burrito bowl or quesadillas at Chipotle (and ugh, whether or not to add guac). And today, the FDA introduced a comprehensive set of federal rules that will require restaurants nationwide to display detailed calorie information for all Americans.

The New York Times reports that the new rules, published in the federal register on Tuesday morning, will apply to food chains with 20 or more outlets, as well as vending machines, amusement parks, movie theaters and even some specific prepared foods at the grocery store. It even will require calorie postings for alcoholic beverages listed in menus and on menu boards. The rules will offically take effect a year from now, barring any political or legal challenges.

The Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010, included a section on menu labeling. But because of all the pushback it got from big players in the food industry, the final rules have been delayed until now.

The hope is that if food establishments and vendors are completely transparent about the calorie content of their menu items, then consumers can make healthier choices. That, in turn, will help combat the soaring obesity rates in the nation. New York City has had calorie-count laws in place since 2008; however, the jury is still out whether or not New Yorkers are healthier because of it.

Do you think the FDA’s new calorie-labeling rules are a step towards a healthier country, or just an example of too much government regulation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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