Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Calories: Margin of Error

Restaurant Food Has Up To 200% More Calories Than Advertised

Dieters can't believe everything they read: The food at many popular chain restaurants and in the freezer section of the supermarket may contain a lot more calories than advertised.

A study of 10 chain restaurants, including Wendy's and Ruby Tuesday, found that the number of calories in 29 meals or other menu items was an average of 18 percent higher than listed.
Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University who was not involved in the study, said she was not surprised by the findings. People might think nutrition labels are scientifically precise, but they are mostly ballpark figures, she said.
The study said most of the packaged food tested fell within the 20 percent margin of error allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.
Chang's large Sichuan-style asparagus had more than double the 200 calories it was supposed to have.


While the legally allowed 20% deviation is quite bad, 200% isn't even close. The U.S. Food Industrial Complex surely knows this guideline is poorly enforced and then targets you as a consumer of their "bliss point" foods loaded in fat, salt, and sugars.