PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The city of Portland says a recent survey it did shows that putting calorie counts on restaurant menus does make a difference in what people order.
The city conducted a survey of 367 people outside 7 non-chain restaurants this summer from August 7 - September 14. About half of the women and a quarter of men who were asked said seeing calorie information did make a difference on what they ordered.
There was a big difference between sit down and take out restaurants though when it came to whether they saw the calories on the menu. 74 percent of people at sit down restaurants reported seeing the information, while just 23 percent of those at fast food places saw it.
There also was widespread support for labeling, with 77 percent of those surveyed saying that restaurants should display the information.
The city had been giving restaurants grants to have a dietician come in and help determine calorie counts for meals, and also pay to have menus reprinted with calorie counts on them. The program was suspended last year, when the legislature reduced funding to Healthy Maine Partnerships.