Magazine article Work & Family Life

Count Calories at Small Local Restaurants Too

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Count Calories at Small Local Restaurants Too

Article excerpt

*o eat healthier and with fewer calories, the conventional wisdom is to steer clear of the big chain restaurants, especially the fast-food places. But new studies by Tufts University food researchers have found that meals at smaller, local restaurants are typically just as fattening.

In other words, both chain and non-chain restaurants are contributing to the American obesity epidemic, says Susan B. Roberts, PhD, of the Tufts Energy Metabolism Lab.

These findings come at a time when federal rules are requiring chains with 20 or more locations to post calorie content information. The rules do not affect the local establishments tested in the Tufts study, which was reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The Tufts research team analyzed 157 full meals of popular food choices in the most common types of restaurant: Mexican, American, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Greek and Vietnamese. Meal items were chosen based on customer rankings of their favorite foods and from web searches of popular dishes at those restaurants.

"On average, the meals studied contained 1,327 calories, which significantly exceeds the estimated energy needs of an individual adult at a single meal," says Dr. …

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