New selections, on average 12 percent lower in calories, could impact obesity epidemic
New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that large chain restaurants, whose core menu offerings are generally high in calories, fat and sodium, introduced newer food and beverage options that, on average, contain 60 fewer calories than their traditional menu selections in 2012 and 2013.
Researchers say this could herald a trend in calorie reduction in anticipation of expected new federal government rules requiring large chain restaurants – including most fast-food places – to post calorie counts on their menus. The appearance of menu items containing 12 percent fewer calories could have a significant impact on the nation's obesity epidemic, they say.
The findings appear in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
On a typical day, studies have shown, 33 percent of young children, 41 percent of adolescents and 36 percent of adults, eat at fast-food restaurants, with an average intake of 191 calories, 404 calories, and 315 calories, respectively.
"If the average number of calories consumed at each visit was reduced by approximately 60 calories -- the average decline we observed in newly introduced menus in our study -- the impact on obesity could be significant," says Sara N. Bleich, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, and lead author of the study.
Using data from MenuStat, researchers looked at menu options in 66 of the 100 largest U.S. restaurant chains for 2012 and 2013. The newer, lower-calorie items fell into the categories of main course, beverages and children's menus, they found.
But, the research shows, these restaurants, for the most part, aren't offering lower-calorie versions of signature dishes like their high-calorie burgers or pizzas. Instead, the new items that are lower in calories are mostly in different categories such as salads. Some restaurants introduced new burgers, for example, but their calorie counts tended to be more in line with the original items.
"You can't prohibit people from eating fast food, but offering consumers lower calorie options at chain restaurants may help reduce caloric intake without asking the individual to change their behavior – a very difficult thing to do," Bleich says. "Given that the federal menu-labeling provisions outlined in the 2010 Affordable Care Act are not yet in effect, this voluntary action by large chain restaurants to offer lower calorie menu options may indicate a trend toward increased transparency of nutritional information, which could have a significant impact on obesity and the public's health."
"Calorie changes in chain restaurant menu items: Implications for obesity and evaluations of menu labeling" was written by Sara N. Bleich, PhD; Julia A Wolfson, MPP; and Marian P. Jarlenski, PhD. The study was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (5K01HL096409).
Susan Murrow | Eurek Alert!
Loss of identity in immune cells explained
18.02.2019 | Technische Universität München
Progress in the treatment of aggressive brain tumors
18.02.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.
DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
18.02.2019 | Interdisciplinary Research
18.02.2019 | Process Engineering
18.02.2019 | Studies and Analyses