Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Calorie labeling may help change meal choices 8/3/11 Institute of Food Technology

Calorie labeling may help change meal choices    8/3/11-Institute of Food Technology

A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that calorie counts on New York City fast-food menus may help people modify their meal choices. While overall calorie consumption for the thousands of people tracked did not change, customers of McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain, and KFC were shown to make modifications.
The researchers surveyed the lunchtime crowd at 168 randomly selected locations of the top 11 fast-food chains in New York City during lunchtime hours. They interviewed 7,309 adult customers 12 months before the law took effect and 8,489 customers in 2009 (nine months after the law was implemented). For the three main restaurant chains studied, customers on average bought 44 fewer calories at McDonald’s, 80 fewer calories at Au Bon Pain, and 59 fewer calories at KFC.
Subway, the popular sandwich chain, saw a significant increase in calories consumed during the survey because of its promotional offer for a $5, foot-long sandwich. The other chains saw little change in their customers’ purchases.
The researchers concluded that although no overall decline in calories purchased was observed for the full sample, several major chains saw significant reductions. After regulation, one in six lunchtime customers used the calorie information provided, and these customers made lower calorie choices.

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