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Are Restaurants Giving Accurate Nutritional Information?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Is your favorite restaurant telling the truth about fat and calories?

You can find nutritional information on the restaurant's website or in some cases, right on the menu.

However, are they accurate?

Consumer Reports decided to put dishes to the test to check for accuracy.

"We chose 17 menu offerings at a dozen casual restaurants and fast food chains and compared their nutritional claims with reality," Kim Kleman from Consumer Reports said.

They included restaurants like IHOP, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory and McDonald's.

Consumer Reports ordered everything from fettuccine to French fries from three restaurant locations.

Back in the labs, testers ground the food to analyze it for calories and fat.

Even though most consumers assumed the calorie counts would be wrong, here's what Consumer Reports found:

Most of the 17 dishes were right on and some even had fewer calories and fat

Applebee's fiesta lime chicken is listed as having 1,200 calories and 66 grams of fat. Consumer Reports found less than that.

However, two dishes were pointed out by Consumer Reports as being off the mark.

Outback's grilled chicken on the barbie claims to have seven grams of fat, but Consumer Reports testers found as much as 13 grams.

A spokesperson for Outback said nutritional information on its website is "verified by a recognized independent laboratory," and variances in the report may be "due to a larger container of sauce used for take-away."

At Olive Garden, the restaurant's lasagna primavera is supposed to have 15 grams of fat, but it had as much as 32 grams.

Olive Garden told Consumer Reports that the website nutritional information was wrong. "The dish actually has 20 grams of fat," and other differences are "due to variability in serving sizes."

Consumer Reports found that portion size varied widely at some of the restaurants.

For more information:
Read the full report here
Consumer Reports Online


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