Editorial: The ugly truth

A new set of studies have cast a glaring light on what restaurants are supposedly doing to help customers stay healthy.

A study from Tuft’s University suggests restaurants low-ball the calories in as many as one in five dishes. While the study states on average many of the numbers are accurate, it also found glaring errors in many popular chains’ popular dishes. Many websites list nutrition statistics at least 100 calories lower than what Tufts’ researchers found.

That’s a serious contention, when the average restaurant dish is 1,000 calories. It’s already hard enough to get the nutrition facts on an eatery when they can often only be found online, but worse yet are inaccuracies like these which wreck a diet and mislead people into unhealthy dietary choices. I suspect the difficulty at reaching these numbers is intentional, out of sight, out of mind.

Watchdogs regularly lament the extreme number of calories in restaurants. Sometimes it feels like a competition to see who can pack the most junk into junk food. All of this happening at a time when obesity is still on the rise.

Another Food Critic urges all restaurants — chains and independents alike to rectify this problem as quickly as possible. It’s hypocritical to claim customer satisfaction is a businesses’ number one goal and then violate their trust so blatantly. I know some customers will always indulge in what they want to regardless of calories or fat; that’s obviously one of the main reasons people patronize businesses. But a night out should not mean sacrificing one’s diet.

In fact, nutrition facts should be even more readily available to a customer at the table, where the ordering is done. On the menu. That’s where the decisions are made.

I can imagine a customer who doesn’t feel as guilty about what they eat will be more apt to come back.

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