Thank God You Have No Idea How Many Calories Are in Your Fast Food
Teens underestimated the calories in fast-food meals by 34%; parents of school-age children by 23%; adults by 20%, study shows.
Many diners are gobbling far more calories in their fast-food meals than they realize, a new study shows.
Teens underestimated the calories in fast-food meals by 34%; parents of school-age children by 23%; adults by 20%, says lead researcher Jason Block of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.
Block and colleagues surveyed about 3,400 adults, teens and parents of school-age children who visited 89 fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s. People were asked to estimate the calories in their meals, then the researchers collected their receipts and figured out how many calories the meals actually contained. The study was conducted in 2010 and 2011.
Among the findings, published Thursday in BMJ, a journal of the British Medical Association:
- One-fourth of participants underestimated the calories in their meals by at least 500 calories.
- Teens’ fast-food orders contained an average of 756 calories, but they underestimated their orders by an average of 259 calories.
- Adults ordered meals containing an average of 836 calories, but they underestimated by 175 calories.
- School-age children got meals that had an average of 733 calories, but their parents’ guestimates were 175 calories too low.
- Diners at Subway underestimated the calories in their orders by a larger amount than diners at McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.
“These large underestimations show that diners don’t really know what they are eating in terms of calorie content, and they need this information to help guide their choices,” Block says.
“They could get it from the company websites or in some other form in the restaurants, such as wall posters, napkins or cups, but soon they’ll be directly faced with it when they see it on the restaurant menu boards before they order their meal. Customers can already do this at McDonald’s — and in some cities,” he says.
The study was funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Al Jazeera America to Open Detroit Bureau, In Addition To Chicago Expansion
Al Jazeera America, the new American news channel that will launch later this year, announced today that it will open a new Detroit bureau as part of the channel’s 2013 launch.
“We want our reporters to be where the stories are and Detroit continues to be where American business stories and trends are happening,” said Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of international operations for Al Jazeera. “Al Jazeera America knows that you have to have on-the-ground reporting from the Motor City to really cover America’s economic, financial and socially important news and we’re excited about being here.”
Al Jazeera America also announced that it will be offering an internship at its New York headquarters for a journalism student from the Detroit area. Interns will learn about and participate in the research, planning, shooting and editing of shows on the channel, and they’ll work closely with staff to create on-air and online content.
The Detroit bureau will focus on telling the stories of the people of Detroit and how news in Detroit affects those across the U.S.
In addition to the Detroit bureau, Al Jazeera America announced earlier this week that it will open a bureau in Chicago. The channel will be headquartered in New York City with other bureaus in key locations in the U.S.
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