What’s on the Menu? A Review of the Energy and Nutritional Content of U.S. Chain Restaurant Menus
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 667 calories, which is one-third of the calories the USDA estimates the average adult needs each day, very few met recommended daily limits for calories, sodium, fat, and saturated fat combined. Appetizers had more calories, fat, and sodium than all other menu items. From the sample studied, appetizers had an average of 813 calories. The study also found that availability of nutrition information varied by cuisine and restaurant service type.
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 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 … More
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