Publishing nutrition information on menus helps people make healthier choices, study finds


#AceFoodNews says `What a Great Idea’ #chefs-tips

National Post | News

When the Ottawa Hospital decided to prominently display nutritional information for its cafeteria meals, the resulting labels created some awkward moments. The sky-high sodium levels of certain items, now available for all to see, were downright “embarrassing,” recalls an outside researcher.

But the up-front listing of calorie, fat and salt content succeeded in catching the attention of most customers, and actually led to reduced and healthier eating, concluded a study of the program, the first of its kind in Canada.

The federally funded research adds to a simmering debate over what and how much customers should be told about their restaurant meals.

The results suggest that publishing nutrition information on menus and menu boards — rather than providing it more discreetly on request or over the Internet, as industry favours — can trigger concrete changes in behaviour, said David Hammond, the University of Waterloo public-health professor who headed the study.

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