That councilwoman from L.A. isn’t going to like this: a new study says that when people eat at what they perceive to be “healthy” restaurants, they underestimate the calories, which could help explain why Americans are continuing to get fatter even as healthy restaurants have grown faster than fast food restaurants over the past 5 years.
When subjects were asked to estimate how many calories they thought they consumed after eating a meal from MacDonalds or Subway, those who ate at Subway guessed on average 150 calories less. (Both groups underestimated total calories regardless.) Says study organizer Dr. Pierre Chandon:
People think that the same 1,000-calorie meal has 159 fewer calories if it comes from Subway… If they choose to consume this fictitious ‘calorie credit’ on other food, and it they eat at Subway twice a week, they could gain an extra 4.9 pounds a year.
To avoid undercounting, Chandon suggests a “piecemeal” approach (ha ha get it?) when estimating your calories—”look at the sandwich, the side, the beverages, and the drink and add that up.”
“Calories underestimated in ‘healthy’ restaurants” [Reuters]
(Photo: Simon Shek)