Restaurants Begin to Count Calories

Restaurants from Applebee’s to Starbucks are pushing new low-calorie menu items in an effort to attract customers who say they want healthier options.

Chain restaurants, traditionally known for peddling fatty food and sugary drinks, hope that offering healthier fare will give them a competitive advantage, especially with the prospect of a federal nutrition labeling law looming.

A Stanford Graduate School of Business study released this month found that when Starbucks Corp. began posting calorie information in its New York City stores in April 2008, as required by city law, customers began switching to the lower-calorie offerings.

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