Restaurant apps can help diners fight the flab

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 20, 2013 05:00 hrs

A study has suggested that restaurants can expand and improve calorie listings on their websites and mobile apps so that their patron comes better prepared to order a healthier menu item.

Lead author Gary Bennett, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, global health at Duke University who studies obesity prevention, said that if consumers wait until they enter restaurants to make purchasing decisions, it might be too late.

He said that particularly for those who are watching their waistlines, it's important to make plans before stepping through the restaurant doors. That's why we were interested in understanding whether and how calorie information was available online.

FDA spokesman Daniel Reese said that the Food and Drug Administrations is still working out the final rules for menu calorie labelling, and there's no established date yet for publishing them.

The Duke study assessed the top 100 U.S. chain restaurants' websites to determine the availability of and ease of access to calorie information. It also considered characteristics of website design and ease of access.

Researchers found that calorie information is both available and largely accessible on the websites of America's leading restaurants. But the variability in how that information was presented makes it unclear how it might affect consumer behaviour.

The study has been published on the website of the journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)

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