- Find a Doctor
- Medical Services
- Patients & Visitors
- Classes & Events
- Health Library
- Why Choose Sharp?
Diane Wade, MS, RD, CNSC, from Sharp Grossmont's Clinical Nutrition Department offers tips on reading nutrition labels at restaurants.
Several cities and states around the country have enacted some type of menu labeling law. California's law took effect on July 1, 2009. Restaurant chains with 20 or more locations within the state must provide information on calories, saturated fat, carbohydrates and sodium for all standard menu items. The first phase of the law requires restaurants to make this information available to consumers through brochures. By January 1, 2011, the information must be printed directly on menus and indoor menu boards, although some restaurants have opted to start early.
Under this new law, restaurants should base nutrition information on how the standard menu item is usually prepared. But how accurate is the information? Unfortunately, there are no enforcement provisions in California’s law to ensure restaurants post accurate information on calories, grams of fat, etc., in a menu item.
The National Restaurant Association is now endorsing legislation for a nationwide standard, in hopes of eliminating the need for its member businesses — especially large chain restaurants — to design different menus to meet laws that vary in each state.
While the current menu labeling law needs to be improved, it is a move in the right direction. Menu labels can be especially helpful for diabetics who are counting carbohydrates. However, until standards can be established, consumers interested in the nutritional information should be aware of how the menu information is compiled and simply ask the server or manager about the restaurant’s preparation standards.
For More Information
Learn more about California's menu labeling law from the California Restaurant Association.
We hope you find this website helpful, but please remember that Sharp HealthCare does not control or endorse the information presented on this website, nor does this site endorse the information found on www.sharp.com.