(Reuters Health) – A typical U.S. restaurant meal provides enough calories for two or more healthy meals - and that’s not just true in fast-food and large chain restaurants, according to a new study.
Independent restaurants and chains with fewer than 20 outlets won’t be required to post calorie counts under a nationwide law that goes into effect at the end of this year, but that doesn’t mean their meals are any better for the waistline, researchers say.
On average, meals from the non-chain restaurants contained about 1,200 calories each, which is more than half the daily requirement for most women and about 44 percent of the daily requirement for men, the study found.
“Fast food restaurants get blamed all the time, but as this study shows the small chains and individual restaurants that don’t post nutrition information are just as bad when it comes to excessive portion sizes,” said senior study author Susan Roberts, a researcher at Tufts University in Boston.
Between 2011 and 2014, Roberts and colleagues collected and analyzed a total of 420 meals from randomly selected non-chain restaurants in three U.S. cities: Boston, San Francisco and Little Rock, Arkansas. For comparison, they also collected 56 meals from large-chain restaurants in the same cities.