Nutritional value of meals at full-service restaurant chains.J Nutr Educ Behav 2014; 46(1):75-81JN
To assess the nutritional value of meals at full-service national restaurant chains with outlets in the Philadelphia region in 2011.
Chains were eligible if nutritional information for all menu items was on company Web pages or printed menus at Philadelphia outlets. Nutrient profiles were analyzed for 2,615 items from 21 eligible chains (out of 29) and compared with United States Department of Agriculture guidelines.
Adult meals (entree, side dish, and one-half appetizer) approximated 1,495 kcal, 28 g saturated fat, 3,512 mg sodium, and 11 g fiber; and rose to 2,020 kcal after including a beverage and one-half dessert. Better calorie and fat profiles were observed for entrees tagged "healthy choice" or aimed at seniors or children; however, sodium far exceeded recommended limits.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Foods served at full-service restaurant chains are high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Standard definitions are needed for "healthy choice" tags and for entrees targeted to vulnerable age groups.