Releases Updated Healthiness Ratings on Popular Chain Restaurants

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Chipotle, Au Bon Pain and Subway top list of healthiest menus.

"It would be easier to assess healthiness if every restaurant told consumers how many servings of fruit or vegetable were in each meal.”

Research shows that almost 1 in 4 Americans eat at a fast food chain restaurant once a day and 8 in 10 people report eating fast food once a month. Yet many consumers find it difficult to wade through nutrition labeling and claims of “healthy” food at restaurants. Today, updated its previous rankings of chain restaurants.

To help consumers compare menus at the nation’s major chain restaurants, Lenard Lesser, M.D. MSHS, an Assistant Research Physician and Family Doctor at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), led a team of nutritionists to create in 2014. The Grellin website, uses nutrition information from meals at 154 of the nation’s restaurant chains, and ranks the restaurants based on the proportion of their meals that qualify as “healthy”—the Grellin Grade. Users can access restaurants by chain or type of food, which are scored from zero (the worst) to 100 (healthiest).

The Grellin Grade uses a combination of technology and nutrition science to compute the grades. The grades take into account both the nutrients (calories, sodium and fat) of the food and the estimated amounts of fruit and vegetable in the food.

For the newest rankings, Dr. Lesser and his team added several new chain restaurants to the list, including Chipotle. Grellin has published new scores and findings of the healthiest chain restaurants in the U.S. on its website. The top ranking restaurants in healthier food options are: Chipotle (Grellin Grade= 55), Au Bon Pain (51), Subway (48), Rubio’s (43) and Bruegger’s Bagels (41). In 2016 there was an increase in the number of restaurants providing more nutritional data on their items. Whereas in 2014, 53% of items couldn’t be scored due to lack of information, and only 50% reported in 2015.

“The change in rankings is due to restaurants offering more information which allows us to properly access the healthiness of their meals,” said Dr. Lesser. “But, it would be easier to assess healthiness if every restaurant told consumers how many servings of fruit or vegetable were in each meal.”

According to Dr. Lesser, the Grellin website not only lets people see which restaurants are ranked as the healthiest, but also lets consumers view which menu items are healthy at particular restaurants. “We hope that encourages consumers to go to restaurants with healthier menus, and that restaurants will respond by improving their menus,” said Dr. Lesser

Twitter: @GrellinGrade

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Cynthia Greaves
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