Study Examines Accuracy of Restaurant Menu Item Calorie Listings

USA Today (7/20, Hellmich) reports that calorie counts listed on restaurant menu items may not be accurate, according to a study published in the July 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. For the study, researchers collected “269 restaurant dishes from 42 popular fast-food and restaurants,” then “sent the dishes…to their laboratory to have the calories analyzed.” Next, “they compared their findings to the calories listed on each chain’s nutrition information charts.”

“About 40 percent of food items on restaurant menus contained at least 10 more calories than stated,” Bloomberg News (7/20, Ostrow) reports. “Restaurants understated their food’s energy content by more than 100 calories for 19 percent of menu items,” the study found. “One hundred extra calories a day adds up to about 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms) of weight gain a year, said study author Susan Roberts, a nutrition scientist at Tufts University in Boston.”