A startling study by researchers at Tufts University reveals that independent and small-chain restaurants are stuffing patrons with too many calories. On average, individual meals contain 66% more than the acceptable calories needed by healthy adults. (And we’re not talking just fast-food chains, either.)
The study looked at 157 meals from 33 establishments close to Boston. According to Dr. Susan B. Roberts, lead author of the Tufts study: “On average, the meals studied contained 1,327 calories, which significantly exceeds the estimated energy needs of an individual adult at a single meal.”
The study divulges some alarming facts. Close to three-quarters (73%) of the meals analyzed contained more than half of the FDA’s daily 2,000-calorie recommendation. Twelve of the meals contained more than the total recommended daily energy intake for a single day. Interestingly, Italian dishes had the highest calorie counts (1,755), closely followed by American (1,494) and Chinese (1,474) dishes. Vietnamese meals had the lowest calorie levels (922), with Japanese (1,027) a close second. While the new Federal restaurant industry rule forces big-chain restaurants to post calorie content information for customers, small-chain and independent establishments have no such requirement. Dr. Roberts’ study suggests it would be beneficial to public health if they were also regulated.