Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Examines Calorie Information from Restaurants, Packaged Foods

06.01.2010
As a growing number of fast food and chain restaurants display the calorie content of their dishes on websites and menus, a study suggests some of this information may be unreliable.

Researchers at Tufts University analyzed the calorie content of 18 side dishes and entrees from national sit-down chain restaurants, 11 side dishes and entrees from national fast food restaurants and 10 frozen meals purchased from supermarkets.

They compared their results to the calorie content information provided to the public by the restaurants and food companies. “Because we analyzed a relatively small sample of food, additional research testing more foods will be needed to see if this is a nation-wide problem,” says senior author Susan B. Roberts, PhD, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

On average, the calorie content information provided by the restaurants was 18 percent less than the researcher’s calorie content analysis. Two side dishes exceeded the restaurant’s reported calorie information by nearly 200 percent. The calorie content information reported by packaged food companies averaged 8 percent less than the researchers’ analysis. “If people use published calorie contents for weight control, discrepancies of this magnitude could result in weight gain of many pounds a year,” Roberts says.

Writing in the January issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the authors attribute the smaller 8 percent discrepancy between their results and the calorie content information from the frozen food companies to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight of Nutrition Fact information labels. Current FDA rules are more lenient towards underreporting calories than over reporting them.

“We tested frozen foods straight out of their packages. For the restaurant foods we first calculated calorie content based on the portion we were served,” Roberts says. “When we went one step further and calculated calorie content based on the portion size listed on the restaurant’s nutrition literature, the discrepancies between our results and the restaurant’s results decreased, which suggests oversized portions were part of the problem.”

Five restaurants offered free side dishes which were not factored into the calorie information provided for the entrees. The authors observed that, on average, the side dishes contained more calories than the entrées they accompanied.

“Restaurant menus and websites should be as clear as possible,” Roberts says. “For example, listing the calorie contents of free side dishes on separate pages from entrees may mislead customers about how much they are eating and may prevent them from making informed decisions between different side dish choices.”

The authors also note recent municipal initiatives asking restaurants to publicize nutrition information. “If the goals of these polices are to encourage a healthier society and weight loss, inaccurate calorie content information could well hamper these efforts,” Roberts says.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lorien E. Urban, Gerard E. Dallal, Lisa M. Robinson, Lynne M. Ausman, Edward Saltzman, and Susan B. Roberts. “The Accuracy of State Energy Contents of Reduced-Energy, Commercially Prepard Foods.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association .Janury 2010; 110 (1): 116-123.

About Tufts University School of Nutrition

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school's eight centers, which focus on questions relating to famine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy.

Andrea Grossman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

Further reports about: Nutrition Science TV agriculture calorie content food companies

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>