According to new study from the American Dietetic Association, some restaurant foods contained up to 200% of stated values and, in addition, free side dishes sometimes are an average of 245% of stated values for the entrees they accompanied. And restaurants are not alone. Supermarket packaged foods under report calories.
These findings suggest that stated energy contents of reduced-energy meals obtained from restaurants and supermarkets are not consistently accurate, and in this study averaged more than measured values, especially when free side dishes were taken into account. If widespread, this phenomenon could hamper efforts to self-monitor energy intake to control weight, and could also reduce the potential benefit of recent policy initiatives to disseminate information on food energy content at the point of purchase.
FoodNavigator.com reports: "Restaurant meals tested were even less accurate. Of 29 quick-serve and sit-down restaurant meals analyzed, calorie content averaged 18 percent more than stated. There is no FDA-regulated limit for the amount by which a restaurant meal may exceed stated calorie content, the researchers wrote."