Restaurant Meals: Almost a Full Day’s Worth of Calories, Fats, and Sodium

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with:

Mary Scourboutakos
PhD student at the University of Toronto

Mary R. L’Abbe, PhD
Earle W. McHenry Professor, and Chair, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
FitzGerald Building, 150 College Street, Rm 315
Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3E2

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We found that chain restaurant meals on average contained half a day’s worth of calories, almost a full day’s worth of fat and saturated fat, and more than a day’s worth of sodium.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: We expected that sodium levels would be high, but we did not expect that 80% of all meals would exceed the daily recommended amount of sodium, while only 1% contained a “healthy” amount of sodium, as defined by the FDA.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Because of the prevalence of eating-out, alongside the alarmingly high rates of diet-related diseases that are associated with eating-out, this study demonstrates that addressing the nutritional quality of restaurant meals should be a major public health priority.

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

Answer:  There is a need for future research to measure progress in this sector to determine if restaurants are making improvements and lowering the sodium and saturated fat levels in these meals.

Citation:

Restaurant Meals: Almost a Full Day’s Worth of Calories, Fats, and Sodium

Scourboutakos MJ, Semnani-Azad Z, L’Abbe MR.
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-2. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6159

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