It turns out, restaurants that display nutritional information about the products they serve may be worth their salt — literally.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England found eateries that disclosed the caloric breakdown of their food actually wound up serving less salt and fat when compared with their counterparts that didn’t share the nutritional information.
Researchers conducted the study by assessing 100 of the most popular chain restaurants in the United Kingdom. Of those, only 31% voluntarily disclosed their calorie information.
Restaurants that chose to display the numbers, however, liked to flaunt their healthy choices. They were found to have a whopping 45% less fat and 60% less salt in their meals than restaurants that preferred to tuck their nutritional facts under the table.
Nutrition-labeled pizza, for instance, had less sugar and salt than its competitors. Many sandwiches had similar results, thought they did show a slight reduction in protein values.
Other items had results that were too similar to conclude either way. Appetizers, many side dishes, beverages, burgers, French fries, salads and soups might just be the same regardless of where you eat.
One result did baffle the researchers. Desserts featured with the nutritional labels had 74% more fat, 100% more saturated fat, 300% more sugar and 43% more salt than those at restaurants that did not disclose this information.
Perhaps the lesson for conscientious eaters is that if you pay attention to the caloric and nutritional content in the main parts of your meal, a little bit of a sweet reward is a just dessert for your efforts.