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Accurate Calorie Count

Posted on 07/26/2011

More and more people eat out weekly and even daily than ever before. No longer is it strictly a treat for special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. We are a nation on the go and want what we want now and do not want to wait for it.

The down side to all this dining out is weight gain. Weight gain can cause health-related diseases such as type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and etc.

Watching your waistline may be more difficult than we thought if you dine out frequently.  An easy solution would be to gravitate to meals with healthy nutritional information, right?  Well, it's not so easy.

Calorie counts in restaurants may not be as accurate as we think.  They may be misleading those who are seeking to eat healthier options while dining out for convenience or lack of interest in cooking for themselves.

Turns out that nearly half of Americans dine out at least three times a week and they may be getting more calories per meal than they think due to inaccurate calorie counts on menus.

The biggest offenders of menu mislabeling are not fast food restaurants, as one might imagine, rather sit-down restaurants. The items most often misrepresented are shockingly soups and salads. In fact, one food researcher found one item had 1,000 calories more than the amount listed on the menu! It's really a matter of quality control to ensure the public is consuming what they are saying we are consuming.

The best fare with the most consistent results from testing was actually pizza...not what most people would think of as so-called "diet fare."  I suppose that can be attributed to easier portioning of pizza slices?

The trend to include calorie counts on menus is creeping up in nearly every restaurant due to consumers desire to know what they are eating while dining out. Some areas it's the law.  I foresee more and more areas following suit. The Food and Drug Administration are expected to roll out by year's end a national mandate for restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts for every item it sells.

People do want to know what they are consuming.  What do you think? Too much oversight by our government? Or, do you believe in posting nutritional information to provide consumers with as much information as possible to make healthier choices? What about the inaccuracy, what more can be done to correct this problem?

I believe portion control is key in correcting our portion distortion -- in restaurants and in homes across the country -- otherwise we're going to continue to see an uptick in obesity and obesity related diseases due to our "want it now" society who relies on dining out frequently. 

This is nothing new for me, I've long believed in portion control and built my company upon those principals...remember, calories in versus calories out, otherwise you'll gain weight!

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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