(HealthDay News) – The introduction of calorie recommendations does not enhance the impact of posted calorie information at restaurants, according to a study published online July 18 in the American Journal of Public Health.
To examine the effect of adding recommended calorie intake per day or per meal on food purchases, Julie S. Downs, PhD, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and colleagues provided daily, per-meal, or no calorie recommendations to randomized subsets of adult lunchtime customers (total sample, 1,121) eating at two McDonald’s restaurants, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Receipts and survey responses were collected as customers exited.
The researchers found that posting calorie benchmarks had no direct effect on food purchases, nor did it moderate the impact of calorie labels. There was actually a slight increase in calorie intake seen with the addition of recommended calorie information, which was attributed to increased purchases of higher-calorie entrees.
“These results do not support the introduction of calorie recommendations as a means of enhancing the impact of posted calorie information or reducing the contribution of restaurant dining to the obesity epidemic,” the authors write.