Finding nutrition information can be a frustrating experience, especially when a restaurant may not have the information available. While most restaurants and fast food chains in America now do, it is still not yet a federal regulation to provide consumers with this information (and some still do not).
When searching for nutritional information, there are a couple of places you can look. It may take a bit of sleuth work, but it’s your health that may benefit or suffer from your investigation.
Ask the Restaurant
Many restaurants will gladly provide you with the information when asked. You can call ahead and ask about specific dishes or ask in person. You may be provided with a small pamphlet of facts. In a few places (where it is a law), a restaurant will have the information posted for convenience, and you simply need to find where it is placed. Some restaurants will provide this information only on request.
Call the Regional Branch
If the restaurant does not have any physical data on hand and it is a chain restaurant, you can sometimes access it through calling the regional branch. You may even be able to get it through the top corporate offices, though this is somewhat unlikely. They will likely send you to a website or mail you the facts.
Look on the Web
Many restaurants now have a website where their nutritional information is available. Finding this is as easy as a five-second search on Google.
There are many websites now dedicated to compiling nutritional information on restaurants and fast food chains. Websites, such as Calorie-Count.com, track individual foods that are commonly found in restaurants. This makes it easy to estimate the calories in food from a restaurant with no information available. Other websites, such as DietFacts.com, track actual restaurants and their nutritional information.
Sometimes posting questions on places such as Yahoo! Answers or a nutritional message board will yield the information. There are people who have compiled the information themselves and may be willing to share. However, take care with this method and cross-reference what you are told to make sure it is the truth.
Sometimes the information simply isn’t available. As mentioned, it is not yet a federal regulation to have nutritional information available, and some restaurants simply do not have this information. This can make the task frustrating, but for dieters it is a necessary step to ensure health.