1/5 of Restaurants Underreport Calorie Listings

Posted on July 27, 2011

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“At Olive Garden, Tufts found the chicken and gnocchi soup had 529 calories, which was 246 more than what would be expected based on the restaurant’s website. Olive Garden told CNN the numbers on its website “are as accurate as they can be for dishes that are individually crafted by hand.”

 Dieters beware! In an effort to eat healthier, you may check restaurant websites to see how many calories are in the dish you plan to order. But it turns out in a study by Tufts University nutrition researchers shows nearly 1 out of 5 restaurant dishes has at least 100 or more calories than is stated on their website. These counts came from several restaurant chains, including Chipotle Mexican grill, Olive Garden, Boston Market and Outback Steakhouse. The study looked at 269 food items at 42 fast-food and sit-down restaurants in Massachusetts, Arkansas and Indiana between January and June 2010. They brought the foods to the lab at Tufts, analyzed the calories and then compared them with the calories listed at that time on the restaurants’ websites. Studied showed that sit down restaurants were more likely to have inaccurate readings. In fact, several restaurants have warnings such as the one on the Outback Steakhouse website, which states that “menu items are hand-prepared and caloric values may vary from the stated amount.”

 A new federal law will require calories to be stated on menus at large chain restaurants in the next year. Due to this new rule, the National Restaurant Association said, “Many restaurant chains are looking at tighter kitchen quality control standards.”

Advice for dieters is to order items such as dressing, cheese and sauce on the side, so they can have better control over calories. To read more about this subject click here.

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Posted in: Food