(Over)eating out at major UK restaurant chains: observational study of energy content of main meals.BMJ 2018; 363:k4982BMJ
To examine the energy content of main meals served in major UK restaurant chains and compare the energy content of meals in fast food and "full service" restaurant chains.
Menu and nutritional information provided by major UK restaurant chains.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Mean energy content of meals, proportion of meals meeting public health recommendations for energy consumption (≤600 kcal), and proportion of meals with excessive energy content (≥1000 kcal).
Main meals from 27 restaurant chains (21 full service; 6 fast food) were sampled. The mean energy content of all eligible restaurant meals (13 396 in total) was 977 (95% confidence interval 973 to 983) kcal. The percentage of all meals that met public health recommendations for energy content was low (9%; n=1226) and smaller than the percentage of meals with an excessive energy content (47%; 6251). Compared with fast food restaurants, full service restaurants offered significantly more excessively calorific main meals, fewer main meals meeting public health recommendations, and on average 268 (103 to 433) kcal more in main meals.
The energy content of a large number of main meals in major UK restaurant chains is excessive, and only a minority meet public health recommendations. Although the poor nutritional quality of fast food meals has been well documented, the energy content of full service restaurant meals in the UK tends to be higher and is a cause for concern.
Study protocol and analysis strategy pre-registered on Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/w5h8q/).