Anyone who aims to lose weight, understands the importance of calorie intake. Counting calories and watching the amount that we consume each day really is the most effective way to lose weight. The body has to create a deficit of calories in order to burn more energy and calories to shed weight and fat.
However, what if we are consuming more calories than we think? A new study reports that this is the case- hidden calories, and miscalculating calories consumed is getting the best of all of us Americans. And this is considerably the case, when eating out at fast food restaurants.
The study which took place in New England, followed more than 330 children, 1100 adolescents, and 1800 adults. These individuals were interviewed during lunchtime and dinnertime hours at popular fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and KFC.
Each candidate was asked to guess the amount of calories consisted in their meal. After the participants were given the accurate amount of calories contained in the meal that they had just consumed.
The interviewers also asked the participants questions like how often do they ear regularly at the fast food chains, did they notice the calorie count posted on the menus, and other questions similar to those that affected the study’s demographics.
The Results Concluded that:
~ 40% of the individuals who participated in the study ate at the restaurant that they were interviewed at more than once a week.
~20% of the individuals reported that they noticed the calorie content in their food on the menus
~Only 5% of individuals who ate out at the fast-food chains used the calorie content guide to determine what they ate health-wise
~Children averaged 733 calories per meal that they had consumed
~Adolescents had consumed an average of 756 calories per meal or food ordered at fast-food chains
~ Adults had consumed an average of 836 calories per meal while eating out
~ 1/4 of the participants in the study underestimated their calorie consumption by the minimum of 500 calories
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.