home
RSS
You're eating more calories than you think
May 23rd, 2013
06:31 PM ET

You're eating more calories than you think

Calorie counting has long been touted as an effective tool for losing pounds or maintaining a healthy weight. But new research published in the British Medical Journal shows many of us are underestimating the calories we're eating, especially when we visit fast food restaurants.

The study

Researchers interviewed more than 1,800 adults, 1,100 adolescents and 330 children at several fast food chains in New England. The interviews were done at McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, KFC, Dunkin' Donuts and Wendy's around dinnertime and lunchtime.

Study participants were asked to estimate their meal's calorie count. Researchers then collected the bill to later tally the correct amount of calories using nutrition info posted on the chain's website.

The results

At least 40% of the study participants reported eating at the restaurant where they were interviewed at least once a week. More than 20% of the adult participants noticed posted calorie information, but only 5% said they used that information when purchasing food.

The mean calorie count for adults' meals was 836 calories; teens purchased 756 calories and children ordered 733 calories. "At least two-thirds of all participants underestimated the calorie content of their meals, with about a quarter underestimating the calorie content by at least 500 calories," the study authors write.

Adults tended to underestimate their meals by about 175 calories, the same as children. Adolescents were more likely to underestimate by about 250 calories. Adults with a higher BMI were less likely to underestimate than their normal weight counterparts.

The restaurant most likely to confuse calorie-counters? Subway. Adult diners there underestimated their consumption by an average of 350 calories and teen diners underestimating by an average of 500 calories. Most of Subway's 6-inch sandwiches contain between 350 and 500 calories; consumers must double that if they order a foot-long sub and factor in extra calories for sides and/or drinks.

Limitations

More than half of the people researchers approached were unwilling to participate. Researchers also did not interview anyone going through the drive-thru. The people they did not talk to may have estimated their calorie counts differently than the study population.

The researchers also did not weigh each participant's food to determine its exact calorie amount, instead relying on generalizations from the restaurant's website.

The takeaway

The study authors are hopeful that listing calorie counts on menus in these establishments will encourage consumers to make healthier choices. But research on the effect of calorie displays has been mixed.

More important may be the sheer number of calories consumers are eating in a typical fast food meal. Depending on their age, children need between 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day. Eating more than 730 in one sitting (and remember, that's the mean - others ate up to 350 calories more than that) could lead to weight gain over time.

Experts recommend doing some research before you order out. View the restaurant's nutritional info online and decide what you'll eat ahead of time.

[twitter-follow screen_name='jdwilson2']


soundoff (733 Responses)
  1. guys we f@#ked podcast

    https://www.curseforge.com/linkout?remoteUrl=https3a2f2fbackbonehunters.com2f

    June 22, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. rachel maddow podcast

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thanks!

    http://summitas.co.uk/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 22, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. doctor death podcast

    http://www.emporiumshopping.com/go.php?url=www.backbonehunters.com

    June 23, 2021 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Fiberglass Repair Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://m-station.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 23, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Internet Marketing Consultant

    http://beaumcadam.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 23, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. pharmaceptica

    chloroquine side effects https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Appliance Repair Near Me

    http://www.floridagulfcoastpva.org/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.co/

    June 23, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. knuckleheads podcast

    http://www.calatas.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 23, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Service Near Me

    http://newwealth.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrv.me

    June 23, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Digital Marketing Near Me

    http://rubbermaid.gixit.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=lifebusinessfitness.com

    June 23, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Social Media Marketing Company

    I want to to thank you for this good read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ

    http://www.qualpath.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=spokanevalleywebdesign.com

    June 23, 2021 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. thrift stores near me

    May I just say what a relief to uncover an individual who truly knows what they are talking about on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people should look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you aren't more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

    http://infinitybus.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=quotenearme.com

    June 23, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Camper RV Repair Near Me

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

    http://linkpool.in/goout/?accountid=0115lp54&subid=fc_purplle&link=https://ocrvmotorsports.org/

    June 23, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Local Marketing Firm

    After looking over a number of the blog posts on your blog, I really like your technique of blogging. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site too and tell me what you think.

    https://mbwin.net/?url=//spokanevalleyseo.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 01:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Air Conditioner Repair Near Me

    http://www.pomeranceproperties.com/Dot_EmailFriend.asp?referURL=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.net/

    June 24, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Internet Marketing Companies Near Me

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    http://irishhorizons.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=cleanuponlinereputation.com

    June 24, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Digital Marketing Consultants

    http://fastfoodtoys.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=postfallsbootcamp.com

    June 24, 2021 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. eye doctor near me

    Excellent post. I am experiencing a few of these issues as well..

    http://www.marshswamp.org/System/Login.asp?id=22100&Referer=https://quotenearme.com

    June 24, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Body Repair Near Me

    http://www.tauschbu.de/goto.php?link=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Chassis Repair Near Me

    https://www.libregraphicsworld.org/?URL=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 24 Hour RV Repair Near Me

    Itís difficult to find well-informed people on this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://www.history.gov/external-link.jspa?url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Emergency RV Repair Near Me

    http://incbr.iung.pulawy.pl/sites/all/modules/pubdlcnt/pubdlcnt.php?file=http://www.ocrvcenter.com/

    June 24, 2021 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. car sound system repair near me

    http://www.turismegarrotxa.com/track.php?t=destacat&id=29&url=http://ocrvcenter.com

    June 25, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Ac Repair Near Me

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!

    https://smartcdn.co.uk/homeoffice/mailresponse.asp?tid=1&em=54991&turl=www.ocrvcenter.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Roof Repair Near Me

    Itís difficult to find educated people about this topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    https://www.tshirthell.com/store/clicks.php?partner=sbgerlinkd&page=http://ocrvcenter.com

    June 25, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Best Leadership Quotes

    http://local.katc.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backboneleaders.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV And Camper Repair Near Me

    http://old.nepalimmigration.gov.np/site/languages/languageA/3?url=http://myles7q2m9.blogdanica.com/3496612/5-tips-about-rv-repairs-near-me-you-can-use-today

    June 25, 2021 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV And Trailer Repair Near Me

    http://redirects.tradedoubler.com/utm/td_redirect.php?td_keep_old_utm_value=1&url=http://privezi.kz/open?url=sprintervanrepair.com

    June 25, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Fiberglass Repair Near Me

    You're so awesome! I don't think I've truly read a single thing like this before. So nice to discover another person with a few original thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that's needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    http://icons.showingtime.com/rd/RD?c=REALTORCOM&s=FMREALTY&url=frankborkowsky.de/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=12&limitstart=980

    June 25, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Service Repair Near Me

    http://www.etracker.de/lnkcnt.php?et=qPKGYV&url=https://www.ns501960.ip-192-99-8.net/article/tendances/voyages/une-route-des-saveurs-très-prisée

    June 25, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Near My Location

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you should write more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people don't discuss these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

    https://slack-redir.net/link?url=https://angelo0l6u9.azzablog.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Nearby

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!

    http://come-on.rdy.jp/wanted/cgi-bin/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=9066&url=https://th-undyingmemories.blogspot.com

    June 26, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Augustina Swarts

    I wanna write stuuf like journals or bloggs, but not saying who I really am. Is there any website where I can do this? Websites for blogging or writing journals and get to post them online?.

    https://www.instagram.com/katekdesigns

    June 26, 2021 at 06:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for providing this information.

    https://www.cs.odu.edu/~mln/teaching/cs895-s14/?method=display&redirect=http://www.myles2r23w.blogdomago.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Refrigerator Repair Near Me

    Excellent blog you have here.. Itís hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://yellowpages.uticaod.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=finn8i5u7.blogdanica.com/3498939/getting-my-rv-repair-shop-to-work

    June 26, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Body Repair Shops Near Me

    /

    June 26, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Fiberglass Repair Near Me

    /holostyak-stb-2021

    June 26, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Viola Pafford

    Very nice article. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!

    https://mercury.postlight.com/amp?url=https://www.cateringbusinessplans.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. hidden brain podcast

    I love looking through an article that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    https://members.ascrs.org/sso/logout.aspx?returnurl=https://backbonehunters.com

    June 26, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. broken harts podcast

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?

    http://crewroom.alpa.org/SAFETY/LinkClick.aspx?link=https://backbonehunters.com/&mid=12872

    June 26, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Dr Henry Cloud Leadership U Podcast

    This website really has all of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    https://sc.sie.gov.hk/TuniS/backboneleaders.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. peter attia podcast

    This is the perfect site for anyone who wishes to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been discussed for many years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    https://track.effiliation.com/servlet/effi.redir?id_compteur=22157233&effi_id=leparfroid244&url=https://backbonehunters.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. pharmacepticacom

    is chloroquine phosphate over the counter https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 3.5 Leadership

    bookmarked!!, I like your blog!

    https://www.westernalliancebancorporation.com/WALSpeedBump_All_Others?target=https://backboneleaders.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Trait Approach To Leadership

    https://r.ypcdn.com/1/c/rtd?ptid=YWSIR&vrid=42bd4a9nfamto&lid=469707251&poi=1&dest=https://backboneleaders.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. skullduggery podcast

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be useful to read through content from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.

    http://d-click.unip.br/u/6714/2671/1239186/3143_0/bad68/?url=https://backbonehunters.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Trait Approach To Leadership

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

    https://www.kichink.com/home/issafari?uri=https://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Why Is Leadership Important

    https://bbs.pinggu.org/linkto.php?url=https://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. pharmaceptica

    tadalafil from canada to usa https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for providing this info.

    http://hennessy-ind.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.xyz

    June 27, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.