Chipotle Lawsuit : The 300 Calorie Scandal
So three Chipotle customers are suing the fast food chain in a class action lawsuit. They're alleging that the nutrition facts for Chipotle's Chorizo Burrito grossly underestimated the calorie content. As a result, they were lulled into a false belief that the meal was healthier than it was. After they ate their burritos they felt excessively full and thus investigated. That's when they found that rather than being 300 calories the burritos were actually 950-1150 calories.
Alright, now that you've digested the gist of the story what are your thoughts?
Here are my thoughts. As a fitness enthusiast, I accept nutritional facts as a general guide and not complete fact. Here at Fit Gal Ri I repeatedly stress the importance of knowing exactly what you're eating even to the point of measuring your foods when attempting to lose body fat. Chipotle is a great place to grab high protein fast food. However, the truth is, anytime you eat a meal you haven't prepared yourself, you're rolling the dice. You cannot always know the exact proportions, what oils were used during cooking, or exactly how the meat was cooked -- which drastically affects the size and the weight. To that end, when you're dieting to lose weight any food you don't prepare yourself and that does not come prepackaged may be better off viewed as a cheat meal.
We live in a litigious society where it's profitable to sue companies for... really anything. In this case, Chipotle responded that the calorie content listed on the menu was referring to the Chorizo alone. For a typical portion, they estimated that the calorie content would be roughly 300 calories. That being said, in order for those customers' burritos to include an extra 600-700 calories, they would've needed to add cheese, rice, beans, sour cream, and likely guacamole as well. This is where personal responsibility comes into play. Anyone with even a minor understanding of calorie content would know that all of those ingredients add up to a delicious burrito worth well over 300 calories. However, most Americans aren't educated in nutrition, and the evidence is the obesity epidemic we face. Still, is it Chipotle's responsibility to provide that education beyond the asterisk fine print symbol behind their calorie counts? Is it Chipotle specifically that failed them or our society and educational system? These customers are claiming to have been lulled into a false belief of health. However, my question is did that quest for health stop just shy of them gaining a better personal understanding of nutrition? I'm all for holding companies responsible for misleading the public, however to me, this lawsuit tip toes on a fine line.
Chipotle has apologized and noted they will do a better job providing nutritional facts going forward. Just as an FYI, their nutritional fact's site is pretty awesome and provides ESTIMATES down to the serving size. If you're really trying to fit Chipotle into your macros I recommend using it.