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Calorie Counts On Restaurant Menus Are Found To Be Inaccurate

July 19, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Calories counts listed on restaurant menus and Web sites are accurate on average, according to a new U.S. study, but in a random sampling nearly one in five individual menu items that were tested differed from lab tests by more than 100 calories. Researchers at Tufts University compared laboratory measurements of calories in 269 food items with the restaurants' stated calories. Food samples were randomly selected from national fast-food and sit-down chain restaurants in three U.S. cities. They found that lower calorie foods on restaurant menus generally tended to contain more calories than listed. A menu item in a sit-down restaurant that was listed as about 300 calories, and perhaps suitable for people on a restricted-calorie diet, could contain as many as 90 calories more than listed.
L. E. Urban, et al., "Accuracy of Stated Energy Contents of Restaurant Foods", JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, July 19, 2011, © American Medical Association
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