Published: September 2013

ID #: 68302

Journal: J Acad Nutr Diet

Authors: Wu HW, Sturm R

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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.

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