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U.S. restaurants routinely serve too much, study shows

Sit-down, takeout, drive-thru—no matter what kind of restaurant you like to frequent, it’s likely you’re eating too much when you go out, researchers say.

More than 90% of U.S. restaurants serve portions that exceed the recommended calorie limit for a single meal, according to a study of 364 local and chain restaurants in San Francisco, Boston and Little Rock, Arkansas. A typical restaurant meal averaged about 1,200 calories, the study found, while some foods—American, Chinese and Italian—were closer to 1,500. That’s more than double the 570 calories recommended for the average woman to consume at dinner or lunch, researchers said.

FYI: The number of recommended calories per day depends on many factors, including sex, age, height, weight and level of physical activity. You can cut down on restaurant calories by sharing meals or ordering sides instead of entrees, or skipping the big portions entirely and cooking healthfully at home.

Source: Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics