Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

You're Likely To Order More Calories At A 'Healthy' Restaurant

Date:
September 5, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
A new study explains the "American obesity paradox": the parallel rise in obesity rates and the popularity of healthier food. In a series of four studies, the researchers reveal that we over-generalize "healthy" claims. In fact, consumers chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131 percent more calories when the main dish was positioned as "healthy."

In the study, consumers chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main course was positioned as "healthy" compared to when it was not.
Credit: iStockphoto

An important new study from the Journal of Consumer Research explains the "American obesity paradox": the parallel rise in obesity rates and the popularity of healthier food. In a series of four studies, the researchers reveal that we over-generalize "healthy" claims. In fact, consumers chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main dish was positioned as "healthy".

Related Articles


"In our black and white view, most food is good or not good," explain Pierre Chandon (INSEAD, France) and Brian Wansink (Cornell University). "When we see a fast-food restaurant like Subway advertising its low-calorie sandwiches, we think, 'It's OK: I can eat a sandwich there and then have a high-calorie dessert,' when, in fact, some Subway sandwiches contain more calories than a Big Mac."

In one study, Chandon and Wansink had consumers guess how many calories are in sandwiches from two restaurants. They estimated that sandwiches contain 35% fewer calories when they come from restaurants claiming to be healthy than when they are from restaurants not making this claim.

The result of this calorie underestimation? Consumers then chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main course was positioned as "healthy" compared to when it was not--even though, in the study, the "healthy" main course already contained 50% more calories than the "unhealthy" one.

"These studies help explain why the success of fast-food restaurants serving lower-calorie foods has not led to the expected reduction in total calorie intake and in obesity rates," the authors write.

What should people and health agencies do" In the final study, the researchers show that encouraging people to examine whether the restaurant's health claims actually apply to the particular food they ordered eliminates the "health halo" effects.

As they explain: "More generally, we need to think about food not just qualitatively (as in "good food -- bad food") but also quantitatively (as in "how many calories are in this meal?")."

Pierre Chandon and Brian Wansink. "The Biasing Health Halos of Fast Food Restaurant Health Claims: Lower Calorie Estimates and Higher Side-Dish Consumption Intentions" Journal of Consumer Research: October 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "You're Likely To Order More Calories At A 'Healthy' Restaurant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829143638.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, September 5). You're Likely To Order More Calories At A 'Healthy' Restaurant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829143638.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "You're Likely To Order More Calories At A 'Healthy' Restaurant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829143638.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins