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Drexel study: Consumers order a less unhealthy meal when the menu has nutritional labeling
Date:11/18/2013

PHILADELPHIA (November 18, 2013) An evaluation team led by the Drexel University School of Public Health has published a new study demonstrating that customers of full-service restaurants use nutritional labeling on menus to make healthier food choices.

"This is the first field-based study of mandatory menu labeling laws that found a large overall adjusted difference in calories between customers who dined at labeled restaurants when compared to unlabeled restaurants -- about 155 fewer calories purchased," said Amy Auchincloss, PhD, an assistant professor in the Drexel University School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

Overall, customers at restaurants with menu labels purchased food with 151 fewer calories (155 fewer calories when counting beverages), 224 milligrams less sodium and 3.7 grams less saturated fat compared to customers at restaurants without menu labels.

Almost 80 percent of customers at labeled restaurants reported seeing labels, and 26 percent of all customers reported using them when deciding what to order. The customers who reported they used labels purchased 400 fewer calories (representing a relative difference of 20 percent), 370 milligrams less sodium and 10 grams less saturated fat than the overall average.

Nevertheless, even consumers who used the labels purchased oversized meals that, on average, far exceeded what could be considered "healthy" highlighting the difficulty for consumers when dining out. The authors argue for a need to do more to help consumers to eat sensibly and to encourage portion control, among other findings published online today ahead of print in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Americans currently purchase at least a third of the calories they consume on food prepared away from home so providing detailed nutritional information on menus and on packaged foods is a commonly touted tactic to educate consume
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Contact: Rachel Ewing
raewing@drexel.edu
215-895-2614
Drexel University
Source:Eurekalert  

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