Special Guests: Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos - Nutrition Twins

CHRIS COTTER, HOST: The food police should get a ticket. Turns out calorie counts they're forcing on restaurants are loaded with mistakes. A brand new report showing one in five items are more than 100 calories over what is listed. The government is about to require all chain restaurants to start counting. What's the point of that? The nutrition twins say even a wrong calorie count can be a good calorie count. Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos, what good does erroneous information do anybody, Tammy?

TAMMY LAKATOS, NUTRITION TWINS: Well, it is not erroneous in the first place. It's not so bad. They're only a little bit off. That is not a huge difference.

COTTER: I don't know. I'm hearing, Lyssie, that sometimes they can be quite a ways off, as much as, what, 100 calories here and there.

LYSSIE LAKATOS, NUTRITION TWINS: Let's put it this way. Every consumer has a right to know what they're eating and how many calories they're getting. Ideally, yes, it would be great to know exactly how many calories are in each food. But at the end of the day, if the restaurant is off by 50 or 100 calories, this is not what is responsible for our obesity crisis. Poor choices are. So if we know roughly how many calories are in a food, we can still say OK, I am going to choose this food over another. And we can save hundreds and even thousands of calories, and make a good decision.

COTTER: Tammy, showing calories on these boards, whether it's at a fast- food restaurant, whether it's on menu at Cheesecake Factory, whatever the case may be, that doesn't change behavior. We've seen that.

T. LAKATOS: The bottom line is that it actually does, because by having these listings, people are actually changing their decisions.

COTTER: I don't know. Studies haven't shown that.

T. LAKATOS: They are showing that. Not only that, we see our clients are seeing differences. They're coming to us and they feel better. And they're losing weight. The other thing to note is that 400 -- if you're cutting back 480 to 520 calories, if there is a slight discrepancy there, that doesn't matter. What matters is that you're cutting calories at all, hundreds of calories. And you're helping to fight obesity. Because you're fighting obesity, you're fighting cancer, heart disease, diabetes.

COTTER: Lyssie, I like the fact that you talked about personal responsibility, because that is what this is all about. The government never sees it that way. So the government says we're going to put calorie counts up there. Then in five or ten years, whatever the case may be, when the government says that's not really working, what are we going to do to curb obesity. I know. We'll tax them. That's what we'll do. That's how we'll change behavior. That's when it all goes downhill. That will work. If you tax people and you charge them more, that will work. But that is not personal responsible.

L. LAKATOS: I will tell you what has really worked with this calorie change, though. I can tell us that our clients used to come to us and they would say, you would be so proud of me. I ate the creamed spinach. I fill up on creamed spinach. But now that they see the calorie amount on there, they see that the creamed spinach -- a serving is 500 calories, and the steamed spinach is the one that's 25 calories. Now they make the better choice. So it is working in that way. And they do take personal responsibility.

COTTER: Are we eating too much? What is the cause of it? If it isn't -- what is the cause of this obesity problem? It is an epidemic.

T. LAKATOS: Right, it is an epidemic. And there are so many things playing a role. First of all, we're all eating out. We're eating too many servings, too big of a portion. We're choosing the wrong foods. We're not exercising the way we used to. We sit all day. We eat high sugar food, high calorie food.

COTTER: Processed foods, yes.

T. LAKATOS: Exactly. All these things add up. Combined with a lack of exercise and that is causing our crisis.

COTTER: All right. Now I see you on the Upper Westside running with your kids. You have one of those carts that has four kids in it.

T. LAKATOS: Watch it. I will take you out.

COTTER: You push them all around. The children really need a better education. Isn't that a big part of it as well? Child obesity is going way up. Is it about the parents not having responsibility? Is it about the kids not going? Is it about advertising to kids?

T. LAKATOS: It's both. It's all of those factors playing a role. It's advertising, of course, and the kids begging their parents. Parents saying OK, I will give it to you.

L. LAKATOS: And the parents not knowing. It boils down to education. If parents do see the calories on the menu, that is a big step for them.

COTTER: Yes, they call that a stroller, not a cart. With all the kids, I need to get the vernacular. Lyssie, Tammy, thank you so much.

T. LAKATOS: Thank you.

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