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Calorie counts higher than advertised in US restaurants

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2011 (AFP) - Nearly one in five dishes served at US restaurants has at least 100 more calories than advertised, a difference that could pack on up to 15 kilograms (22 pounds) per year, said a study on Tuesday.

While most of the 269 foods measured at random in the three-state survey were close to the calorie count listed on the menus, some varied wildly, such as one order of chips and salsa totaling 1,000 more calories than expected.

That finding, while "not typical... is an amount that is nearly half the total daily energy requirement for most individuals," said the study led by Lorien Urban of Tufts University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Salads, as well as high-carbohydrate dishes containing rice, beans, potatoes or bread, tended to have "significantly more variability," while sandwiches and meat dishes were more likely to remain near or below the advertised calories, said the study.

Cold Stone's PB&C Shake (Men's Health)
Cold Stone's PB&C Shake (Men's Health)


In a country where obesity has risen to 34 percent of the population and up to 35 percent of the average person's calorie intake comes from food eaten out
instead of at home, the findings point to a potential source of a nationwide
epidemic.

For instance, with 19 percent of the food coming in at 100 calories higher
than advertised, a person who regularly consumed that additional amount daily
would be projected to gain five to 15 kilos (11-33 pounds) per year, it said.

"The prevalence of obesity remains at epidemic levels and national
recommendations emphasize reducing energy intake to facilitate weight loss and prevent weight gain," said the study.

"However, the extent to which this recommendation can be implemented depends in part on the accuracy of available information on the energy contents of foods that are typically consumed."

Food were sampled from the states of Indiana, Massachusetts and Arkansas from January to June 2010.

Among the restaurants sampled were Arby's, Chuck E. Cheese, Old Spaghetti
Factory, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Chili's Grill and Bar, and Bob Evans.

At Denny's, a popular chain diner, a sampling of the french fries showed they had 122 more calories than advertised, while the classic hamburger actually had 152 fewer calories than advertised.

Sit-down restaurants tended to show greater differences in actual versus advertised calories when compared to fast-food establishments, possibly due to lack of portion control, the authors said.

The US government is currently finalizing plans to make menu calorie counts mandatory in chain restaurants, a change that comes as part of President Barack Obama's health care law passed last year.

 

<한글기사>

콜드스톤, 데니스 '최악의 음식'선정돼

美소비자단체 고열량ㆍ고지방ㆍ고나트륨 '최악의 음식' 선정

    (워싱턴.시카고 AFP.로이터=연합뉴스) 미국 식당 메뉴의 열량이 실제보다 적게 표시된 사례가 상당한 것으로 드러났다.

미국 터프츠대학 연구진이 음식점 메뉴 269개를 무작위로 추출해 조사한 결과 19%는 실제 열량이 표시량보다 100칼로리 이상 많은 것으로 나타났다고 19일자  미국의사협회지(JMA)에 발표했다.

음식 종류별로는 쌀, 콩, 감자, 빵 같은 고탄수화물 메뉴와 샐러드에서 실제 열량과 표시량 사이에 편차가 큰 경우가 많았다.

일부 메뉴는 표시량보다 1천칼로리가 더 나오기도 했다.

반면 고기류나 샌드위치류는 열량 표시가 비교적 정확한 것으로 조사됐다.

식당 종류별로는 패스트푸드점의 표시가 상대적으로 더 정확했는데 이는 패스트푸드점의 생산ㆍ조리 시스템에서 양 조절이 확실하게 이뤄지기 때문이라고 연구진은설명했다.

한편 미국 소비자보호단체인 공익과학센터(CSPI)는 패스트푸드와 아이스크림 전문점 등의 메뉴를 조사해 열량과 지방, 나트륨 함량이 지나치게 높은 8개 식품을 공개하고 '익스트림 식품상(Extreme Eating Awards)'에 선정했다.

수상의 오명을 안은 브랜드는 콜드스톤과 데니스, 치즈케이크팩토리, 애플비, 아이홉(IHOP) 등이다.

예를 들어 콜드스톤의 'PB&C 셰이크'는 성인 하루 권장 열량인 2천칼로리가  넘는 2천10칼로리를 함유하고 있었으며 포화지방량은 성인 기준량의 3배가 넘는 68g이나 들어있었다.

또 데니스의 치즈튀김 샌드위치 메뉴는 열량이 1천210칼로리에다 나트륨 함유량이 권장량(1천500㎎)의 2배인 3천10㎎이나 됐다.

공익과학센터는 일반적인 버거류나 디저트류, 튀김류를 변형해 또 다른 고열량요소가 추가된 메뉴들이 열량과 포화지방, 나트륨을 더 많이 포함하는 것으로  파악됐다고 설명했다.

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