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September 20, 2010

New web site informs London diners about restaurant features and menu options at local restaurants

Elena

London, ON – A new innovation from Brescia University College will help Londoners make more informed choices when they order their next meal at a favourite restaurant.

Masters student Elena Usdenski and Dr. Len Piché, professor of Foods & Nutritional Sciences, have launched a new web site that provides nutritional details about signature dishes and other pertinent information about 24 participating London restaurants.

“I think users will find it very informative. Not only does it provide accurate nutritional analysis of restaurants’ signature dishes but it also provides other information that some people might not be aware of, such as if a restaurant offers Halal meals, if it is wheelchair accessible, or if it participates in the “Bring your own wine program.” It is definitely a one-stop shop for dining out in London,” Usdenski said.

The launch of this online resource is timed well. The proposed legislation (Bill 90– Healthy Decisions for Healthy Eating Act – 2009) has been re-introduced and is at the first reading stage. If the bill is passed, food services with more than five million dollars in sales per year, must disclose the caloric content per serving on menus and menu boards, and limit trans fats in meals.

Usdenski is among the more than 80 per cent of Ontarians who agree with the Ontario Medical Association’s (OMA) call-to-action on menu labelling; however, she said that further research and measurement is required to determine if labeling will lead to improved health among Ontarians. “Research in this area to see if calorie labelling on menus is an effective strategy to decrease patron’s caloric intake is conflicting. In addition, from my literature review I found that different nutrients are important to different individuals. For example, females tend to look at calories and fat, males tend to look at protein, individuals with diabetes look at carbohydrates, and individuals with kidney disease look at phosphorus and potassium. With the permission of the restaurants, our web site provides this information to consumers so they are able to make an informed dining decision.” 

Piché said that the Brescia site is more comprehensive than existing restaurant web sites. “Now we have a couple of dozen restaurants that are willing to share all the details of their establishments with the public. There are other web sites that will share basic information but there’s no comprehensive information the way that Elena did it.”

Usdenski and Piché expect the number of featured eateries to grow as the site gains momentum. This service is provided by Brescia University College and the Brescia Graduate Fund.

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Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit www.brescia.uwo.ca

For more information, please contact:

Elena Usdenski
Phone: 519.491.8506 (after 6 p.m.)
E-mail: eusdensk@uwo.ca

Dr. Len Piché
Phone: 519.432.8353, ext. 28284
E-mail: lpiche@uwo.ca