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Consumers way off the mark in measuring calorie content in fast foods

by Savitha C Muppala on September 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM
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Consumers way off the mark in measuring calorie content in fast foods

When the coat of cheese on the pizza melts away in your mouth, you might just get misled about the number of calories that are packed in this delicious spread. A novel study has served the idea of how people, irrespective of their size, misjudge the calorie content of fast-food meals. Although the estimations were accurate when the meal portions were much smaller, the study revealed.

Pierre Chandon, a co-author of the study said, "This is not an issue of knowledge, of motivational biases that people want to lie. It's just ingrained perceptual bias that we can't control." The study was undertaken in two phases. The first phase involved 105 people, who were asked by researchers to make calorie estimation while eating at fast food restaurants,

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In the second phase of the study, 40 undergraduate students were given the task of guessing the calorie content in fifteen different sizes of a fast food meal. The finding revealed a great similarity in the result, irrespective of the sex of the participants or how much they weighed.

Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Weight Management Center "It's good news because it takes the real stigma out of saying, 'Heavy people just don't get it. That's not true. What this study shows is it's the amount of food on the plate that's fooling people. This is showing human foibles. It's hard to estimate food. And it's really hard to estimate huge portions."

The fact that portions have become bigger has made it rather difficult to estimate the exact calorie content and the size of a standard portion.



Source: Medindia
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