This article examines changes in the energy and sodium content of main entrées among a study population of 213 U.S. chain restaurant brands. Data were collected in spring 2010–when the Affordable Care Act was passed, which included a federal menu labeling requirement–and spring 2011. Entrées that changed between the time points were classified as removed (appeared at baseline but not follow-up), or added (new or reformulated entrées that did not appear on the baseline menu). Researchers found that mean energy and sodium of entrées did not change significantly over the one-year timeframe. While entrées added to menus in 2011 were not different in mean energy, they were 70 milligrams lower in sodium than items that were removed. An analysis of children’s menu entrees also found that, overall, added entrées were not significantly different in mean energy compared with removed entrées. At fast-food restaurants, added children’s entrees were 57 calories lower than removed ones. More restaurant brands made healthy changes to menus compared with those who made unhealthy changes, although the vast majority made no significant changes.
Changes in the Energy and Sodium Content of Main Entrées in U.S. Chain Restaurants from 2010 to 2011
Drawing from a larger study on restaurant nutrition, this cross-sectional study reports on the sodium density of 30,073 menu items from 237 unique U.S. chain restaurant brands in 2010. Sodium density, defined as mg sodium per 1000 kcal, was evaluated with descriptive statistics and stratified by restaurant characteristics (service model … More
This paper discusses availability of nutrition information and nutritional content of menu items in the largest chain restaurants in the United States. Researchers examined the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items–including items from children’s menus–from 245 restaurants across the country. They found that while most main entrees did not exceed … More
Investigating whether Menu-Labeling Laws Lead California Restaurants to Modify the Nutritional Contents of their Offerings
The implementation of a new California law on January 1, 2011, will require chain restaurants to label calories on menus. This study will test the hypothesis that restaurants subject to a calorie labeling law are more likely to improve the caloric and nutritional content of menu items, compared to restaurants … More