Report: Should Restaurants Manage Caloric Intake?

According to Andrew Bridges of the Associated Press a new report suggests restaurants should monkey with menu offerings and portions sizes to help fight fat:

Today, 64 percent of Americans are overweight, including the 30 percent who are obese, according to the report. It pegs the annual medical cost of the problem at nearly $93 billion.

Consumer advocates increasingly have heaped some of the blame on restaurant chains like McDonald's, which bristles at the criticism while offering more salads and fruit. The report does not explicitly link dining out with the rising tide of obesity, but does cite numerous studies that suggest there is a connection.

The report encourages restaurants to shift the emphasis of their marketing to lower-calorie choices, and include more such options on menus. In addition, restaurants could jigger portion sizes and the variety of foods available in mixed dishes to reduce the overall number of calories taken in by diners.

Bundling meals with more fruits and vegetables also could improve nutrition. And letting consumers know how many calories are contained in a meal also could guide the choices they make, according to the report. Just over half of the nation's 287 largest restaurant chains now make at least some nutrition information available, said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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Linda - June 2, 2006 1:17 PM

I think they should. It would be nice if it helped! It would help me if I still ate at restaurants (only on occasion do I).
It will be interesting to see the results of how people order in the restaurants employing this.

anet - June 2, 2006 6:48 PM

Unhealthy food is so cheap because of subsidies on raw materials used to produce it so I am not hopeful about this. It would be nice if places would offer "1/2 portions" for half price plus a $1 or something like that for us that don't want to eat the same leftovers for days and don't wanna pig out.

Heidi - June 4, 2006 11:25 AM

Absolutely. I think that we, as a society, have become too complacent with the motive of business trying to seduce us with product. Ideally, it shouldn't be a struggle to find something nutritionally reasonable to eat. It would be amazing if food producers took on a sense of resposibility to provide good, nutritious, life-supporting food. Imagine what a statement that act would be!

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