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You Gonna Eat That? Calorie Count Menuboards Debut at Panera

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Yesterday 13 SoCal locations of the carbo-centric Panera Bread debuted their calorie count menuboards, according to the OC Register. Including calories alongside menu items is something that we'll be seeing in California starting January 1, 2011 by law, however this fast-casual chain has become an early adopter.

If you happen to visit a Panera Bread in Whittier, West Covina, La Mirada, Lakewood, East Pasadena, Riverside, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Redlands, San Bernardino, Chino Hills and the City of Industry, you will now know how many calories are in your muffins, egg sandwiches, and coffee beverages before you place your order.

We used Panera's online nutrition calculator to see what we would have seen on the menu had a calorie count been posted in the Studio City location when we went there in 2008. Our 4 Cheese Egg Souffle, Cobblestone pastry, and coffee would have cost us 1140 calories; what's more disturbing, however, and would have been a more powerful influence in swaying our ordering, is the fat grams count for this meal: 44g. Fat content on menu boards is not part of the state legislation, though it is part of the first phase of this law passed in 2009, that stipulates chains with 20 or more locations "must provide brochures at the point of purchase with number of calories, grams of saturated fat, grams of carbohydrates and milligrams of sodium for all standard menu items."