Ordering Up Calories

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Do you know how many calories are in a fish sandwich from McDonalds? 400! That same sandwich from Long John Silver’s is 540 calories (140 more). But how could you have known?

Restaurants don’t have to tell you how many calories are in the foods they serve, but soon they will. By March 2011, chain restaurants will be required by the FDA to post the calorie content of foods they serve.

As you peruse the menu trying to decide between the bacon cheeseburger and the grilled chicken sandwich, you’ll see the how many calories are in each item. And with this knowledge, you’ll have the power to make healthier choices when dining out.

Restaurants are also required to post a statement that additional nutritional information is available upon request, and to have it for customers in written form. It will be similar to a food label, but will eaters know what the numbers mean?

Knowing the calorie and nutrient content of a food won’t help much without an understanding of how much a person needs daily. Restaurants are also required to include a statement about suggested total daily caloric intake.

To brush up on your knowledge of the nutrition facts label, check out our Guide to the Nutrition Facts Label.

Will knowing the calorie content of menu items help you choose healthier foods when dining out?


    Author: Alice RD

    Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

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