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July 22, 2013

Eating Out Without Overeating

Author Affiliations
  • 1Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(14):1283-1284. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6169

Just like many working parents, I eat out a lot with my family. Stopping at the supermarket after work to buy fresh food and then preparing it at home is a nice idea, but my children and I would have starved long ago if we had waited for it to happen.

Since restaurants of all types keep me and my family fed, I have greatly appreciated calorie labels on menus. In fact, I confess that I frequently ordered McDonald’s french fries until I saw that a large size had 570 calories. (Who knew? I thought I was doing well by ordering a vegetable.) Indeed, with the increased inclusion of calorie labels, McDonald’s has reduced the calories in a large french fry order to 500 calories.1 The motivation of restaurants to reduce calorie counts of their foods owing to the greater transparency required by food labeling regulations has been a particularly welcome development, especially since a review of studies on the impact of point-of-service menu labeling on consumer choice concluded that the association is weak or inconsistent.2

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