Pop, cola, soda: Whatever name you know them by, you won't find these sugary soft drinks on the kids' menu at Applebee's and IHOP anymore. They'll still be available upon request, according to a statement from the chains' parent company DineEquity, but won't be default options. A study in research journal Obesity suggests customers tend to order the default at restaurants, so removing the temptation of soda should have a notable impact, despite Coca-Cola's continued attempts to convince the public that inactivity is the only thing causing childhood obesity.
In an announcement yesterday from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that works to "transform the American diet," nutrition policy counsel Jessica Almy praised the move, noting, "A kids' menu is no place for disease-promoting drinks." She called on other sit-down chains like Chili's to "follow Applebee's lead," joining Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King, Dairy Queen, and others in eliminating from the kids' menu the sweet beverages that NFL star Tom Brady calls "poison for kids."
Just because soda's been removed from the kids' menus doesn't mean you're in for a healthy meal at either restaurant, though, based on governmental dietary guidelines. IHOP's offerings include the Funny Face chocolate chocolate chip pancake with whipped cream and powdered sugar, which has 480 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 1,090 milligrams of sodium. Applebee's has even heftier meals in two categories, "Really Hungry" and "Really Really Hungry," with the two mini cheeseburgers weighing in at 680 calories, 1,570 milligrams of sodium, and 42 grams of fat. One step at a time.