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Health & Fit Can you trust the calorie counts on menus at your favorite restaurants?

20:41  11 october  2017
20:41  11 october  2017 Source:   today.com

What to do If You Can't Understand a Menu

  What to do If You Can't Understand a Menu For those who don't speak a second or third language, it can throw up barriers in many places, from airport signage to check-in desks at small hotels, and, almost certainly at restaurants. "If you don't speak the language, it can be intimidating to read and order from [some] menus," says Sharon Schweitzer, international etiquette expert and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. "Whether you have an allergy—to, say, peanuts—that you must avoid, or you're a just picky eater who can't handle spicy peppers, you might be worried about ordering from a menu from which you can't read every word or understand the description.

Rossen continues to weigh himself every morning and, like millions of Americans, reads food labels closely, including the calorie counts on restaurant menus . But just how reliable are those numbers?

Are you surprised to learn the number on the menu or display board at your favorite restaurant may not be accurate? After years of working in many different restaurants I can tell you this- Do NOT believe the calorie counts !

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In his new book, "Rossen To the Rescue: Secrets to Avoiding Scams, Everyday Danger, and Major Catastrophes,'' TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen relates his personal weight-loss struggle and reveals how he lost nearly 30 pounds.

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Many calorie counts at restaurants are off by as many as 420 calories . Over half of “low calorie ” dishes researchers analyzed had more calories than the chain restaurant claimed. You may not see calories on your menus yet, but be prepared for it to become the norm.

Do You Trust Calorie Counts on Restaurant Menus ? Favorite It Now. Chat with us on Facebook Messenger. Learn what's trending across POPSUGAR.

Rossen continues to weigh himself every morning and, like millions of Americans, reads food labels closely, including the calorie counts on restaurant menus. But just how reliable are those numbers?

The Rossen Reports team visited popular restaurants, including Cheesecake Factory, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, Shake Shack and Chick-fil-A, and ordered one dish off each of their menus. But instead of eating the food, they sent it a certified food testing lab to see if the actual calorie counts corresponded to the ones listed on the menus. The results were revealing.

NBC News reached out to the restaurants for their response to the results. Shake Shack did not respond, but the others did.

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Meal calories may not be seen on many current menus , however, by next year, this will be the norm. This general law may be pending, but it was revealed that not all the fast food restaurants that currently list their menus calorie count can be trusted .

You may avert your eyes from them, or purposefully cover them up when you ’re scanning the menu at your favorite restaurant , but increasingly, they’re hard to ignore — the unsettling number of calories in the meal you ’re about to consume.

Chick-fil-A told NBC News "there is some natural variation in calorie counts and other nutritional information" and that each sandwich may differ "based on factors like the exact size of the chicken breast and the amount of breading."

Applebee's said they have "robust programs to maintain consistency" when preparing food and "regularly conduct ... sample testing across the country in an effort to continually improve."

Red Lobster said they "strive for consistency," telling NBC News, "we appreciate you bringing this to our attention." In response to this report, they revised their menu, saying, "We have changed our nutritional information on this item."

Nutritionist Keri Glassman told Rossen, "If the calories are going to be there, they should be accurate."

The FDA gives restaurants leeway: There's no regulation on how much the calories listed on a menu can vary from what's actually in the dish — they only have to be "reasonable." Most of the restaurants say they calculate calorie counts based on an average.

No time in the morning? 8 healthy and delicious drive-thru breakfasts .
Didn't eat breakfast at home? Start your morning off right with these more wholesome to-go options from your favorite fast food restaurants. It's been 45 years since a food scientist named Herb Peterson brought a handheld version of eggs Benedict to McDonald's. And while the classic Egg McMuffin is still on the menu, it's now competing with lower-calorie options, making drive-thru breakfasts more diet-friendly.Don't get us wrong. There are still plenty of places to stray. For example, two years ago Taco Bell introduced Cap'n Crunch Delights and some breakfast sandwiches can pack in over 700 calories.

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