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Restaurant and packaged foods can have more calories than nutrition labeling indicates
Date:1/5/2010

urthermore, some individual foods had discrepancies that were extreme, including three supermarket-purchased complete meals and seven restaurant foods that containing up to twice their stated energy contents.

The authors also note that the US Food and Drug Administration allows up to 20% excess energy content but weight must be no less than 99% of the stated value. This might lead manufacturers to add more food to the package to insure compliance with the weight standards and thereby exceed the stated energy content.

Lead investigator Susan B. Roberts, PhD, director, Energy Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA, and colleagues write, "These findings suggest that stated energy contents of reduced-energy meals obtained from restaurants and supermarkets are not consistently accurate, and in this study averaged more than measured values, especially when free side dishes were taken into account, which on average contained more energy than the entrees alone. For example, positive energy balance of only 5% per day for an individual requiring 2,000 kcal/day could lead to a 10-lb weight gain in a single year. If widespread, this phenomenon could hamper efforts to self-monitor energy intake to control weight, and could also reduce the potential benefit of recent policy initiatives to disseminate information on food energy content at the point of purchase."


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Contact: Lynelle Korte
jadamedia@elsevier.com
314-447-9227
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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