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

September 20, 2010

elena_usdenski

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