Restaurant Chains Cut Calories

Woman With Tasty Fast Food

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine shows that restaurant chains’ new menu items have fewer calories than traditional menu items.
The study looked at menu items from a variety of chains, including Panera, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Applebee’s. According to the study, new menu items have an average of 60 fewer calories compared to traditional menu items.
Those who conducted the study do not know if the calorie differences are because of portion sizes or because of nutrient composition or a combination of both. Authorities on the subject say the restaurants have been cutting calories to prepare for what’s ahead — menu boards with calories.
While the new federal regulations have yet to be finalized, restaurants will likely have to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards, which could leave some diners in calorie shock. Some chains, like McDonald’s, have already begun posting calories alongside their menu items. However, several studies have shown that knowing the amount of calories does not necessarily deter people from ordering their fast food favorites. Some believe this is because people aren’t aware of how many calories they should consume each day or at each meal.
The study concluded that the mean (average) calories in menu items in 2012 and 2013 did not change even though newly introduced items had fewer calories. However, these changes were widespread and included lower calories in newly introduced main course items, new beverages and new children’s items.
While 60 calories may not seem like much, 30 percent of Americans eat at a fast food chain each day. The combination of reduced calories could make a big difference over time.

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