by Marion Nestle
Sep 26 2018

Calorie labeling works. A little.

A study from The National Bureau of Economic Research finds that calorie labeling on restaurant menus reduced calorie consumption by about 3%, mainly from appetizers and main dishes, but not from drinks or desserts (oh dear).

The Cornell investigators’ description of the study is worth a look.  Here’s what got my attention:

In one restaurant, the number of calories in the appetizers ranged from 200 to 910. The entrees ranged from 580 to 1,840 calories, and the desserts from 420 to 1,150 calories.

Gulp.  No wonder people have trouble maintaining reasonable weight.  Most people require between 2000 (small, inactive) and 3000 (big, very active) calories a day.  One meal in that unnamed place takes care of that and then some, and a 3% reduction won’t make a dent.

Thanks to the Hagstrom Report for finding these studies.