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Drexel Study: Diners Order Fewer Calories When the Menu Has Nutritional Labeling

111813_lw_menuAn evaluation team led by the Drexel University School of Public Health has published a new study demonstrating that customers of full-service restaurants use nutritional labeling on menus to make healthier food choices.

“This is the first field-based study of mandatory menu labeling laws that found a large overall adjusted difference in calories between customers who dined at labeled restaurants when compared to unlabeled restaurants — about 155 fewer calories purchased,” said Amy Auchincloss, PhD, an assistant professor in the Drexel University School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

Overall, customers at restaurants with menu labels purchased food with 151 fewer calories (155 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 labeled 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.

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