When out for dinner next month, you might notice a few more specials on the menu. From April 6, large restaurants, pubs and bakeries must declare the number of calories in anything on offer — a strategy ministers hope will encourage healthier eating.

But there is a loophole. Daily specials will be exempt if they are on the menu for less than 30 consecutive days or fewer than 30 days a year, which industry insiders say will lead to a surge in the number of changing options.

The new rules come after some chains are serving up main courses which contain almost 2,000 calories, the entire recommended daily intake for active women. For men, the figure is 2,500.

A Five Guys cheeseburger with regular fries is 1,930 calories. An Empire State burger, which includes chips and onion rings, at the pub chain Wetherspoon is 1,949 calories. A caesar salad at Pizza Express contains 952 calories.

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