Next Spring, the US Food and Drug Administration will put a new regulations into effect that would force restaurants to post nutrition information for their food menu on the Web. And in a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon and University of Pennsylvania, the move could help consumers think twice when ordering their next meal online.
For its experiment, the research team created a special online menu for a health insurance company in Kentucky so employees could select their meal and pick it up at the office cafeteria when it’s ready. The employees either saw a color-coded system (green for healthy, yellow for okay, red for not-so-great), exact calorie value, both types of labels, or none at all.
The study concluded that those who saw the labels, either the color-coded one or exact number value, ordered food with 10 percent less calories than the employees who weren’t exposed to the labels. The researchers believe that if the same could be used for online food ordering sites like Seamless, it could help people be more mindful about the choices they make when planning lunch and dinners from these services.
Of course, the experiment taking place at a health insurance company might have influenced some employees to be more careful about their health in general – but it couldn’t hurt to know more about what you’re buying online, especially when it comes to food.
Although the FDA regulations applies to just restaurant chains and not your neighborhood Chinese joint, it could be a start to making healthier choices if you’re one to order food online often.