I love enjoying the many restaurants in Cincinnati.  So when I don’t feel like cooking dinner on the weekend, off to Cincy we go!  I love all kinds of restaurants and foods, but I especially enjoy it when a menu lists the calories of the food they serve.  Since we are in full swing for cheering, I am constantly in check of my weight for game days.

However, going out to eat and keeping my weight in line is sometimes a battle.  A recent study I read from Tufts University in Boston showed that calorie labelling at chain restaurants can be deceptive.  The study showed chain restaurant calorie reports were accurate on average, but their individual food items had descrepancies.  In lab tests, they found 40% of the foods contained at least 10 calories or more than stated.  And nearly one in five items packed 100 or more excess calories, a finding that was more often associated with lower-calorie foods.  This could be a major problem for weight watchers because consuming an extra 100 calories more than what your body needs each day can add up to a 10 pound weight gain in a year.

Sit-down restaurants, the kind I like to go to, are even more inconsistent in their calorie reporting mainly because portion control varies so much.  Even if menus are 100% accurate in their reporting, if the server gives you a larger portion than stated, the calories will be more.

Does this mean we shouldn’t go out to restaurants anymore if we are trying to control our weight?  Researchers advise to order foods that you have control over, such as salads with the dressing and cheeses on the side.  The main thing is, just try not to feel like the stated calories are written in stone.  Enjoy your meal and educate yourself on the calories you are consuming if you are trying to keep your weight under control.  But realize, you calorie intake is not an exact science.

Off to Cincy I go!