FDA to require restaurants to post nutritional info for their menu starting May 5

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This cheesecake clocks in at 1,500 calories, 43 grams of saturated fat, and 21 teaspoons of sugar
A slice of Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake. Reuters/Dominick Reuter

Food and Drug Administration announced that it will officially require restaurants with 20 or more locations to present nutritional information facts for their menu starting May 5, 2017. The new rule would provide an easier way for consumers to determine the amount of calories a certain type of food being offered contains.

The latest regulation, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, will also require restaurants to alert customers that other nutrition information will be available upon request. Customers must have access on total calories, specifically calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fibre, sugars and protein.

A new study published at the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that 92 percent of 364 measured restaurant meals surpass the suggested calorie requirements for a single meal. It also suggested that restaurants served meals with more calories than what is recommended for a single meal and often in an entire day.

United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ChooseMyPlate, in its website, provided steps to avoid overeating. It recommends starting a meal with a vegetable-filled salad as it makes one feel fuller faster. The dressing should be put on the side and consume only a small amount. For beverages, water, sugar free sodas, unsweetened tea and fat-free milk are healthier choices.

Additionally, ChooseMyPlate suggests sharing a meal or eating only half of it. Trade the regular-sized entrée for a side dish or an appetizer-sized portion because these usually come in smaller amounts. Some eating places offer food served in smaller plates as an option.

Sliced vegetables, packed fruit and unsalted nuts or low-fat string cheese are good for long commutes. Even for regular meals, filling the plate with vegetables and fruits is recommended. Stir-fries, kabobs or vegetarian menu items typically offer more vegetables. ChooseMyPlate also suggests food with lower calories, saturated fat and sodium.

“All-you-can-eat” buffets are not recommended. Instead of going for a fried dish, steamed, grilled or broiled food would be a better choice. For burgers and sandwiches, ask for 100 percent whole-wheat breads.

USDA, which started more than a century ago, helps Americans in making healthy food choices by providing food guidance symbols, publication and a suite of interactive online tools. According to its site, MyPlate is a reminder to find healthy eating style as the right mix of food can help a person be healthier now and in the future.

Video Source: YouTube/TED-Ed