Calorie Counters - Calorie Counts in restaurants

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04-06-2013, 10:50 AM
I posted something similar to this in a different forum, but I thought it was worthy to be posted here as this is what we do. :)

My latest Consumer reports magazine did a study on some nutritional guides that restaurants put out and what their food actually contains. Some were higher and some were lower.

For example, Olive Garden lists it's Lasagna Primavera with chicken at 420 calories. When CR tested it, they found it anywhere from 508 - 585.

Or another, Outback Grilled Chicken on the barbie. Listed - 401, actual 391 - 511

At least a big mac is less... listed - 550, actual 520 - 528

I guess the point is, just realize what you eat out can be over or under by 100 calories when you count it.

04-06-2013, 12:18 PM
This is why I don't eat back my exercise calories unless I'm feeling really hungry. I know that no matter how accurate I try to be with my measurements and tracking, there's going to be some error involved.

04-06-2013, 12:23 PM
I always think about the calories posted on menus. How do I really know if the prep cooks measure the cheese, the sauce, etc. I am so hesitant to eat out in a restaurant as I get very paranoid when it comes to oils, butters, etc.

I don't want to come off so picky to the waitstaff or the kitchen so I find it easier to eat at home or prepare at home and take it with me. If my husband wants or needs to eat out when we are out, we can usually easily sit at the bar and he'll get something. I'd feel bad taking up a whole table with him just the one eating. I don't know why the bar feels different and I just have a soda water or coffee. :)

I do think the calories are a good guide though mentally for people who really don't have any idea that their cheeseburger and fries are easily 1200 calories. I was very un-calorie aware before I started my new way of eating.

Alyssa Autopsy
04-06-2013, 02:10 PM
when i know i'm going to eat out, i go on and pick out what i'm going to eat and how many calories it is, so i know exactly what to order ahead of time. if it's spur-of-the moment, i eat HALF, that way even if it is a ridiculous amount of calories, i'm not eating the whole thing.

04-06-2013, 02:29 PM
I'm not surprised. I've heard the same thing, that actual nutrition varies a bit from labels on things you purchase in the store. I mean, nothing's perfect, but it's nice to get a ballpark idea, I think. And all the more reason to eat real, whole foods and not things with barcodes. :)

ETA: And also, to be fair, just like the food varies, so does your body's efficiency and the calories it burns. Nothing will ever be that precise.

04-06-2013, 03:20 PM
I saw something similar to that also. It was interesting, because the article that I read said that the fast food chains were more likely to be accurate than sit down places which I assume is because fast food is more likely to be prepackaged type stuff.

When I'm counting, even for something that I make at home I round up. Like if I was going to eat something that was 213 calories, I count it as 250. It makes it easier for me to add up in my head as I'm making something, and I figure it gives me enough of a buffer for when I don't measure accurately or I'm eating out and not sure the exact calorie amount.

04-06-2013, 04:08 PM
Not surprised here, either. The cooks in the restaurant cannot always be perfect either when it comes to cooking/baking- they may have accidentally put a tsp to tbsp more oil/butter in your dish, sort of thing. I have only ate out a handful of times this year and I tend to go a bit low by having light meal and a green smoothie before going out to eat to lessen the damage and not worry if I happen to be a couple hundred calories over because I was already low to begin with that day, you know?

04-06-2013, 05:24 PM
I can't remember where I read it now but a couple years ago an article I saw said that counts could be off by as much as 200 calories. 200 seems high but around 100 makes sense because they're not weighing and measuring every item before they serve it to you.

04-07-2013, 02:53 PM
A tablespoon of butter is 100 calories so yeah this does not surprise me at all. So good tho!
I'm glad I'm too poor to eat out all the time. I would have a lot more weight to lose if that were the case lol.

04-07-2013, 04:56 PM
It does not surprise me that the calories listed for some of these things is off. The best rule of thumb might be to not eat out. I have been trying to eat only half of what I order when we go out.

04-10-2013, 12:25 PM
Not surprised. If I am eating out, and the nutritional information isn't posted online or already in My Net Diary, I tend to over estimate what I am eating by as much as 200 cals, depending what I am eating of course. Often I will enter 1.1 servings of something if I feel like the cook was generous with sauce or cheese or something. I would much rather overestimate than underestimate.

04-10-2013, 04:58 PM
I rarely eat out... But if I do, I either eat somewhere that has calorie counts online posted or I do not count them at all that day, make the best choices and consider it a cheat meal.