Over-Eating & Under-Thinking
Caution: People Severely Underestimate Calories When Eating at “Healthy” Restaurants
For the weight conscious among us (hmm whoever might that be?), eating out can be a stressful experience (unless, of course, you are in love with boiled chicken over lettuce). But fortunately, some restaurants make dieters feel safe. You know you can go to the "healthy" deli down the block with the organic but maybe coughed on salad bar, your fave sushi place, etc. and find something that won't make you feel like Shamu's land-dwelling second cousin. Only problem is, the food you're eating at these restaurants is probably more caloric than you think...at least according to a new Cornell study.
The study showed that people think they ate only 56 percent as many calories as they did when they go to restaurants claiming to be "healthy." And because they feel all good about their eating habits afterward, they reward themselves with foods like chips, fries and cookies. (We'd normally hint at how irrational this behavior is, but after too many meals of salad followed by Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche froyo, who are we to point fingers?)
In one of the study's experiments, participants were given the same exact food but told it was either from McDonalds or Subway. People estimated that the food in the Subway wrapper had 21 percent fewer calories than that in the McDonalds wrapper.
Cornell's Brian Wansick, one of the study's authors, dishes out some sobering advice alongside this disheartening news: "If you're eating at what you think is a healthy restaurant, take your best estimate of the calories in the meal--and double it. You'll be a lot more accurate." Too bad that doesn't work with penises.
Cornell Food & Brand Lab (2010, October 9). Health halos that make us fat. EurekAlert! Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-10/cfb-hht100810.php