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National Restaurant Association - On the menu: Study confirms restaurants are cutting calories

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On the menu: Study confirms restaurants are cutting calories

Restaurant chains are reducing calories in many of their menu items, a new study finds.

Released Oct. 7, the report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Health Policy and Management looked at caloric trends at more than 60 large U.S. chain restaurants, including Chipotle, Wendy’s and Applebee’s Bar & Grill.

The study found that overall the menu items that the chain restaurants introduced in 2013 had 12 percent fewer calories than menu items in 2012. Calories in new children’s items dropped a significant 20 percent, according to the report.

“This report is a sure sign that the restaurant industry is continuing its commitment to promoting health and wellness,” said Joy Dubost, the National Restaurant Association’s director of nutrition and healthy living. “Restaurants have made meaningful progress in offering menu items that are innovative, great-tasting and nutritious.”

Dubost said the NRA is especially pleased with the progress the industry is making in providing consumers and their children with more healthful kids’ meals.

“We’ve been promoting healthful options on menus through Kids LiveWell, our children’s nutrition program,” she said. “We also vigorously advocated for a nationwide menu-labeling standard that gives consumers the nutrition information needed to make choices that are right for them. The information in this new report shows that restaurants are not only meeting consumer demand for more healthful items, but helping them dine smarter.”

Joan McGlockton, the NRA’s vice president of industry affairs and food policy, said the study is proof that restaurants are committed to delivering healthful options to parents and children.

“More and more chefs are using their creativity to develop more healthful, flavorful items that consumers will want to eat,” she said. “Diners today are savvier about food and nutrition and are driving the demand for better choices. The findings in this report signal that restaurant companies are listening and giving guests what they want.”

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