Healthy Living

This Simple Menu Change Could Finally Get Us To Stop Overeating

Turns out color-coding works wonders.
06/16/2016 02:29pm ET

Many Americans struggle with the urge to consume more calories than our bodies need, which can lead to health problems galore.

But a new kind of menu label has been proven to help us eat less, or at least choose less caloric food, when deciding what to order for takeout.

The "traffic light" label -- which color-codes menu items as green, yellow or red based on calorie content -- helped people order meals with less calories in a new study of online ordering systems.

Published by the American Marketing Association in the Journal of Public Policy
An example of the "traffic light" menu used in the study.

For the study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania had almost 250 corporate employees order their food from new online cafeteria system for six weeks. When faced with either traffic light labeling or a numeric calorie count on the menu, the employees ordered dishes with about 10 percent fewer calories than those who received regular menus without nutritional information.

There are no plans to incorporate the traffic light into U.S. menus just yet. But U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it will start requiring food delivery systems, restaurants and more to put calorie counts on their menus next year, Science Daily notes.

Until then, there's good, old-fashioned listening to your body, which will usually steer you in the right direction.

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