About one out of five dishes served in American restaurants has at least 100 calories more than the figure mentioned by the local, according to a study released Tuesday.
Most of the 269 plates examined in the context of this research conducted in three U.S. states, had a number of the announced close of calories, but 19% of the plates was underestimated.
Some strayed too far from reality. One extreme case was that of a portion of chips with salsa that had 1,000 calories more than what is reported.
These 1,000-calorie "almost half the recommended daily energy intake for most people," says the study led by Lorien Urban, Tufts University, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The researchers found that salads and dishes with high proportion of carbohydrates (rice, beans, potatoes or bread) were the most underrated about your calories. Sandwiches or meat dishes, however, tended to have the same number of calories or less announced.
The more traditional restaurants moved away from the actual number of calories fast food, possibly due to the lack of control over their portions, they noted.
In the United States, obesity affects 34% of the population. And on average, a person consumes 35% of their meals away from home, so the study findings may explain one of the reasons for this national epidemic.
In this sense, if 19% of food consumed in a restaurant for a person has at least 100 more calories than advertised, the person could raise 15 kilos per year, the study authors calculated.
The research was conducted in Indiana (North), Massachusetts (northeast) and Arkansas (south) between January and June 2010, restaurant chains that anticipated the obligation to mention the number of calories that offer their dishes.
The idea of making this mandatory practice is being studied at the federal leve