Restaurants Continue To Reduce Calories in Menu Items

Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205  MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation
Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Bleich: Large chain restaurants appear to be voluntarily reducing the calories in their newly introduced menu items which contain an average of 60 fewer calories than items only on the menu in the prior year. This decline is primarily driven by new lower calorie salads and sandwiches.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Bleich: Among chain restaurants with a specific focus (e.g., burgers), average calories in new menu items not core to the business declined more than calories in core menu items.  This suggests that large chain restaurants might be more willing to offer lower-calorie options in menu items not core to their customer base.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Bleich: Consumers in a large chain restaurant looking for a lower calorie option where the calorie information is not readily available should consider selecting a salad or sandwich option which may have lower calories.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Bleich: Future research should consider how newly introduced menu items are changing to reduce the calories – is it  smaller portions and/or changes to the nutrient composition.

 Citation:

Calorie Changes in Chain Restaurant Menu Items

Sara N. Bleich et al. Calorie Changes in Chain Restaurant Menu Items: Implications for Obesity and Evaluations of Menu Labeling. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, October 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.08.026