Dieters Beware, Calorie Counts Are Off
you’ve made a resolution to lose some weight and haven’t, even though you’ve
been diligently counting calories, there could be a good reason for that.
The calories listed on your frozen entrees from the supermarket and those
posted by your favorite restaurant may be much higher than advertised.
study published in the current month’s Journal of the American Dietetic
Association found that menu items at 10 chain restaurants contained calories
that were 18 percent higher on average than listed.
the frozen food case, brands including Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, South
Beach Living and Weight Watchers were eight percent higher than labeled.
said that the difference in actual calories was not a ruse being played out
against unsuspecting consumers but boiled down to portion sizes, variations
in ingredients and testing methods. The Food and Drug Administration requires
packaged food to be within the 20 percent margin of the calories listed on
Bertini, a spokesperson for Wendy’s, told The Associated Press, “Since
our food is prepared to order by restaurant teams, there can be small variances
in the calorie count. For example, one sandwich might have a bit more mustard
or ketchup. The next sandwich, the customer might choose to leave off the
lettuce and tomato.”
Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, said most people
don’t understand that calories listed on menus or packages are not exact.
would never occur to me that the calories posted on menu boards are anything
close to reality,” she told The Associated Press.
Questions: Do most consumers understand that calorie counts are
intended as a guide and not a hard number? Will this report negatively
affect consumer confidence in restaurant and frozen food brands?
food has more calories than advertised – The Associated
- Assessment of the Accuracy of Portion Size Reports Using Computer-Based Food
Photographs Aids in the Development of an Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour
Recall (Abstract) – Journal of the American Dietetic Association