The largest food chains in America, including McDonald’s and Applebee’s, have been cutting down on calories in their new food options.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins have discovered that there has been about a 12 percent drop in calories in restaurants’ new items from 2012 to 2013. New menu offerings, items from the kid’s menu and beverages were shown to have the biggest decrease.
However, these changes have not been made to the core items of the chains. For instance, there was not a significant change in pizzas at pizza places or sandwiches at sandwich shops. This voluntary decline in calories is most likely a result of federal regulations which require restaurants to disclose the amount of calories in their menu items.
While 60 or 70 calories might not seem like a lot, that drop can have a major impact over the long run. For instance, on an average day, children and adolescents have a 110 to 165-calorie ‘energy gap,’ meaning they are overeating and/or under-exercising. This is a way to chip away at that.” – Bleich.
For example, McDonald’s included more fruit in children’s menus and made healthier food swaps (apple slices instead of French fries), added more salads to their menus and offered healthier versions for items like breakfast sandwiches (such as the Egg White McMuffins). McDonalds’s also aims to cut down on sodium, sugars, saturated fats and overall calories in their food items by 2020.
Bleich also states that reduced calories have an even greater impact than disclosing calories on menu items because describing some items as “healthy” may lead some consumers to skip the item altogether. By implementing a reduction in calories consumers can unintentionally make healthier choices when eating outside of the home.
Read more here- “Biggest Chain Restaurants are Voluntarily Cutting Calories,” (Elahe Izadi, The Washington Post).