Nutritional labels on menus force people to order less unhealthy meal

ANI| Updated: Nov 19, 2013, 16:18 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that diners are likely to choose a less calorie-based meal when nutritional labels are mentioned on restaurant menus.

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

Overall, customers at restaurants with menu labels purchased food with 151 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 labelled 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 study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.