More Calories in Fast Casual Than Fast Food Entrees

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Danielle E. Schoffman PhD Candidate Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior Arnold School of Public Health University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208

Danielle Schoffman

Danielle E. Schoffman
PhD Candidate
Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, there has been large growth in the fast casual (e.g., Panera, Chipotle) restaurant sector, and there is a general perception among consumers that these restaurants are a healthier and fresher alternative to fast food. When we encourage participants in our research studies to reduce their fast food intake, they often ask if these fast casual restaurants also count. We were interested in looking at the calorie data for entrees at both restaurant types to see if they lined up with these assumptions.

We analyzed the calorie content of entrées at 34 fast food and 28 fast casual restaurants, and found that fast food entrées had an average of 760 calories per entrée compared to 561 for fast food entrées . Also, a greater proportion of fast casual restaurant entrées exceeded the median of 640 calories per entrée.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: While our analysis showed that there were more calories in the fast casual as compared to the fast food entrées , it is also important to note that there were many high calorie options at both types of restaurants. Overall, consumers should make use of posted calorie information on menus and restaurant websites to make an informed meal selection as there are more and less healthy options available at many of the restaurants.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our analysis only compared the calorie content of the entrées , and future research could look closer at the nutrient density of the entrées at both types of restaurants, as well as their inclusion of wholesome ingredients such as whole grains and vegetables.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Danielle E. Schoffman, Charis R. Davidson, Sarah B. Hales, Anthony E. Crimarco, Alicia A. Dahl, Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy. The Fast-Casual Conundrum: Fast-Casual Restaurant Entrées Are Higher in Calories than Fast FoodJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.03.020

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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