Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Are Calorie Counts On Menus Accurate?
Shocked by the staggeringly high calorie counts on the menu at your favorite restaurant? Then you’ll like this news even less: 20 percent of the menu items tested in a recent study contained significantly more calories than what was listed. On average, those foods — all of which fell into the low-calorie category — averaged 100 calories more than what the restaurants claimed, with one hiding an extra 1,000 calories in its dish. Researchers collected samples of 269 food items from national fast-food and sit-down chain restaurants, then compared their laboratory measurements with the restaurants’ stated calorie counts. Sit-down restaurants tended to be less accurate in their estimates, because the food is prepared and portioned out by workers, whereas fast-food joints measure their dishes mechanically at a factory. While 100 extra calories may not sound like much, that can add up to 10 pounds of weight gain over the course of a year. Since the average American eats 34 percent of their calories outside of the home, those unaccounted-for calories can add up quickly.