The first menu did not include the number of calories in the sandwich. The second menu included the calories. The third menu included the calories and how much brisk walking it would take to burn the calories off.
The menus all had the same food choices, which included burgers, chicken sandwiches or tenders, salad, fries, desserts, soda and water.
When ordering from the second menu, just including calories did not result in choosing meals with fewer calories. When ordering from the third menu, the diners chose meals that had 100 fewer calories.
Think about this. A woman would have to briskly walk for two hours to get rid of the calories in a quarter-pound double cheeseburger.
In the new health care act, restaurant chains with more than 20 outlets must post the number of calories in their food.
If just adding calorie counts to menus does not change eating behavior, adding exercise times to burn off calories might.
Advocates say that restaurants can also help. They can reduce portion size and the amount of salt, saturated fat and sugar in their dishes.