But we seem to be expert at underestimating.....
These truths have led to increasingly large waist lines. What am I talking about? Calories. We are really, really bad at guessing the calories in meals served to us at restaurants.
In a study conducted in 2006, on average, 90 percent of people underestimated the caloric content of restaurant foods by more than 600 calories. MORE THAN 600 CALORIES. If you ate an additional 600 calories per day, it would take you less than a week to gain a pound. You could potentially gain over 60 pounds in a years time!
The study went a little like this:
Surveyor: How many calories do you think are in the hamburger and french fries you just ordered?
Diner: Oh, about 890 calories.
Surveyor: WRONG! Upwards of 1500 calories. (Closer to what most people need in an entire day)
Before 2010 more than half (56 percent) of the nation's large chain restaurants did not provide adequate nutritional information, some not any information. Those that did, often did not have this information available on site. The information could be obtained by writing to corporate contacts, visiting confusing websites, or brochures mailed upon request. With the scarcity of this information and lack of proximity, even if requested, to an individual at the point of sale, it made little change to their purchasing decision and thus their caloric intake for a meal.
When nutritional information is easily available to consumers, they appear to be influenced by it in making dietary choices. In one study, about half (48 percent) of people reported that the nutritional information on food labels has caused them to change their minds in buying a food product.
Caitlin Johnson is a dietitian, wife, lover of ice cream, chef wannabe, California-girl, Christian, liver eating, "food-avore."
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