Full-service restaurants lack nutritional guidelines equivalent to those required for fast-food restaurants even in cities and states where those guidelines have been mandated by legislation according to research conducted by scientists from Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania that was published in the Jan. 8, 2014, edition of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
The researchers examined 2,600 menu items from 21 full-service restaurant chains in and around the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Legislation passed in 2010 requires menu labeling in full-service restaurants but does not specify what must be labeled according to the daily recommended value established by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
Menu items labeled as “healthy” at 50 percent of the full-service restaurants that specifically targeted children and older patrons were found to be considered “healthy” only on the basis of calorie content.
The researchers found that 33 percent of the foods examined exceeded the daily recommended value of sodium and only 20 percent of the meals from full-service restaurants provided sufficient fiber.
The researchers recommend that labeling of full-service restaurant menus in a similar fashion to fast-food restaurants would reduce the number of calories consumed by people in the United States who eat about 33 percent of their meals away from home.