New Online Quiz from CSPI Compares Restaurant Foods
Highlights Need for Restaurant Menu Labeling
WASHINGTON—A new online quiz from the Center for Science in the Public Interest exposes some surprising differences in the calorie content of common restaurant foods. For example, would you have guessed that a large chocolate milkshake (1,160 calories) at McDonald’s has more calories than four hamburgers (1,040 calories)? Or that two jelly donuts (420 calories) at Dunkin’ Donuts have fewer calories than the chain’s sesame bagel with cream cheese (570 calories), medium strawberry banana smoothie (550 calories) or banana walnut muffin (540 calories)?
Though Americans get one-third of their calories from away-from-home foods, fewer than half of large chain restaurants provide nutrition information to their customers—and virtually all of that information is tucked away on web sites or difficult-to-read and rarely read posters and brochures or printed on packaging that you see only after you buy your meals.
That’s why the Center for Science in the Public Interest is pushing for legislation to require table-service chain restaurants to list calories, saturated plus trans fat, sodium, and carbohydrates on their menus, and fast-food restaurants to list calories on their menu boards (where space is limited).
According to Margo Wootan, CSPI’s nutrition policy director, menu labeling is needed to help people make informed choices at the point of purchase.
“Customers don’t order meals without knowing the prices, and we can’t expect them to make healthy decisions without knowing the nutritional price as well,” Wootan said. “It’s really a guessing game for people who are watching their weight or trying to follow their doctor’s advice to manage their diabetes or high blood pressure. This quiz offers a glimpse of just how difficult it is.”
The quiz is available at www.cspinet.org/nutritionpolicy/restaurant_quiz.html.
For more information about menu labeling, visit www.menulabeling.org.
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).