People Eat Less When Restaurants Reveal Calories

Several years ago, The New York Restaurant Association voiced their opposition to the pending food legislation that would require restaurants to post calorie counts on their menu items. Since then, the law has shown little-to-no conclusive evidence that it has had any positive results. That may now change.

According to recent research, one in six people notice the nutritional information and buy foods with fewer calories. The report from New York City surveyed lunch crowds at 11 fast food restaurants. They examined the receipts of over 7,300 people 12 months before the law took effect and for nearly 8,500 customers nine months after it took effect.

Customers at McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain and KFC got 44 fewer calories from their foods after the law was implemented.

Advocates for the legislation are optimistic, particularly when similar laws are passed across the nation. There have also been healthy changes in menu items since the law has passed. Skeptics may scoff at the connection, but when the proverbial curtain is lifted on the nutritional value of your menu items, it makes sense that you may scramble to market lighter fare.

“We think, overall, these initial findings are positive,” says Dr. Lynn Silver, director of New York City’s Office of Science and Policy and co-author of the report.

The one downside was with the other restaurants in the study, where there was either no change or an increase in calorie consumption. The power of restaurant promotion over people’s consumption habits was revealed with Subway, who saw a significant increase during the survey because of their popular $5 foot-long sandwich deal.

(via: Today)

Also read:

Restaurant Menu Changes Lead to Healthier Choices

New York City Restaurants Fight City Hall

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