Will You Eat Less?

Jul 24 2013

you can lead a horse to low-calorie meals, but he’ll still eat like a horse. And so will humans. Two researchers from Cornell and the University of Pittsburgh stood outside McDonald’s restaurants in New York, passing out fliers with info on how many calories men and women should eat for lunch. They discovered all that helpful information not only didn’t make people eat less, they actually ate more. Men consumed 11 percent more calories than the flier recommended, and women ate 27 percent more. In fact, people who read the diet advice actually ate more calories than those who didn’t read it. They’re not sure why. Maybe it gave them a false sense of security: a Big Mac had slightly fewer calories than the maximum, so they ordered fries and a large Coke to go with it. It does mean, though, that if you think that government forcing restaurants to post calorie counts of all their foods is going to make Americans eat less, then you’ll probably swallow anything.

Comments 1-2 of 2

  • Theresa Bradford

    07/26/2013 10:31 PM

    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one, Mike. Though I hesitate on government regulation of our lives, I seldom eat at a restaurant that does not list it's calories right on the menu. Free market principals apply because the smart eateries get my business where the others do not.

    Just last night we stopped at a new place for dinner with some friends. When I noticed that most of their meals were about a thousand calories or even more, we all decided eat something else. If the menu hadn't revealed the calorie count, I would have missed out on that piece of pie!

  • Cathy Scott

    07/25/2013 03:32 PM

    Maybe it's just me, but there is quite a tug o war going on in my head when I'm eating out. I may throw caution to the wind if it's a special occasion, or debate between low price and low cal. I would hold onto the flyer and use it to make a better (hopefully) decision on my next visit. If I'm seriously craving something I might give in, but after having weighed 205 lb., I am able to exercise some restraint...I'm not going back to that weight again, ever. I'm guessing a lot of people just don't care anymore. And, there is that little bit of rebel in all of us.

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