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Restaurant Menus Packed With Calorie Information Influence Least Health-Conscious Diners

February 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Despite legislative directives that restaurants list calorie content on their menus, there has been little agreement as to whether such informative menus have a positive effect on dining choices. In this U.S. study, researchers observed patron behaviors in a full service restaurant that provided three types of menus with varying levels of caloric information. They found that: calorie labels have the greatest influence on people who are the least health conscious; using a symbolic calorie label reduced the caloric intake of even the most health-conscious patrons; and calorie labels were more likely to influence the selection of the main entree rather than drinks and desserts.
Brenna Ellison et al., "Looking at the label and beyond: the effects of calorie labels, health consciousness, and demographics on caloric intake in restaurants", International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, February 08, 2013, © Ellison et al.
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