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Decreasing Calories, Fat and Sodium in Restaurant Meals for Widespread Industry Ado

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43CA150528-01
Agency Tracking Number: CA150528
Amount: $99,989.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NCI
Solicitation Number: PHS2010-2
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
ACCENTS ON HEALTH, INC. 4849 Ronson Ct., Ste. 115
United States
DUNS: 859217234
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (858) 541-2049
Business Contact
Phone: (805) 693-1100
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The prevalence of nutrition-related conditions (overweight/obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) among Americans is widely documented. During the last twenty years, the frequency of dining out has increased, with Americans currently eating restaurant-prepared foods an average of five to six times per week. Compared to meals prepared at home, restaurant fare tends to contain more calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Conventional efforts aimed at addressing the situation described above have focused on encouraging consumers to minimize eating out and/or guiding diners in identifying and selecting healthier menu options, approaches fraught with challenges. Instead, the default strategy approach proposed here seeks to test the feasibility of modifying standard restaurant recipes to include less cheese, oil, butter, mayonnaise, salad dressings, etc., to a degree that is not detected and/or is acceptable to restaurant customers. The modifications will result in corresponding reductions in the levels of calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium. The advantage of the proposed approach is that restaurant consumers will benefit from the modified preparation methods without having to be knowledgeable about nutrition or motivated to make healthier choices. The consumer does not even need to take any specific action to benefit. Instead, this approach relies on the participation and cooperation of restaurants. The appeal of this approach to restaurants includes (1) lower food costs, and (2) the fact that, as menu legislation is requiring more restaurants to reveal nutrient values for their menu items, there is more interest by restaurants to improve the nutrition profiles. Restaurant chefs and RandD teams will work with HEALTHY DINING, a California-based company with nearly two decades' experience in restaurant nutrition, to revise and then test modified recipes. During Phase I, three restaurant companies will be participating in this project. Measurements and calculations will include (1) interviews with restaurant executives, (2) surveys of participating restaurants' staff members acting as taste testers, (3) surveys of consumers at a commercial taste test facility, (4) calculations of calorie, fat, saturated fat and sodium reduction as a result of the menu item modifications (found to be acceptable through the testing) and (5) cost savings to the restaurants. During Phase II, the research will expand to examine the effect of modifying more restaurant meals from more restaurants with testing that will provide a high degree of statistical certainty. This will provide a strong foundation to develop projections about the potential public health impact of such practices, if widely adopted by the restaurant industry. If this approach is found to be successful, HEALTHY DINING will collaborate with the National Restaurant Association to publicize the effectiveness of the default strategies to restaurant chains throughout the nation. 1 PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Obesity and poor nutrition contribute significantly to four of the ten leading causes of death in the United States (cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes) and cost an estimated 200 billion in health care costs each year. The fact that Americans are eating restaurant-prepared foods four to five times per week, along with the fact that restaurant meals tend to be less healthful and larger than meals prepared at home, contribute significantly to the health problems stated above. Therefore, it is increasingly important for overall public health that restaurants provide healthier meals.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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