Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Healthier happy meals

Date:
December 19, 2013
Source:
Cornell Food & Brand Lab
Summary:
What would happen if a fast-food restaurant reduces the calories in a children's meal by 104 calories, mainly by decreasing the portion size of French fries? Would children compensate by choosing a more calorie dense entrée or beverage? Researchers analyzed transaction data from 30 representative McDonald's restaurants to answer that question.

What would happen if a fast-food restaurant reduces the calories in a children's meal by 104 calories, mainly by decreasing the portion size of French fries? Would children compensate by choosing a more calorie dense entrée or beverage? Researchers at Cornell University, Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Andrew Hanks, analyzed transaction data from 30 representative McDonald's restaurants to answer that question.

Related Articles


Prior to 2012, the Happy Meal® was served with one of three entrée options (chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, hamburger), a side item (apples or small size French fry), and a beverage (fountain beverage, white milk, chocolate milk, apple juice). By April 2012, all restaurants in this chain served a smaller size "kid fry" and a packet of apples with each CMB. Wansink and Hanks found that this change in default side offerings resulted 98 of the 104-calorie decrease in the CMB.

With such a large decrease in calories, would children compensate by choosing a more calorie dense entrée or beverage? Wansink and Hanks found that 99% of children ordered the same entrée, and orders of chicken nuggets (the lowest calorie entrée) remained flat at nearly 62% of all orders. Yet, nearly 11% fewer children took caloric soda as a beverage and 22% more chose white or chocolate milk -- a more satiating beverage. This increase was partially due to small changes in advertising for milk. Interestingly, the chocolate milk served in 2012 was of the fat-free variety compared to the 1% milk variety served previously. It also contained 40 fewer calories. Overall, the substitutions in beverage purchases resulted in 6 fewer calories served with the average CMB.

Small changes in the automatic -- or default -- foods offered or promoted in children's meals can reduce calorie intake and improve the overall nutrition from selected foods as long as there is still an indulgence. Importantly, balancing a meal with smaller portions of favored foods might avoid reactance and overeating. Just as managers have done this in restaurants, parents can do this at home.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell Food & Brand Lab. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wansink, B., & Hanks, A. Calorie reductions and within-meal calorie compensation in children's meal combos. Obesity, December 2013

Cite This Page:

Cornell Food & Brand Lab. "Healthier happy meals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219131049.htm>.
Cornell Food & Brand Lab. (2013, December 19). Healthier happy meals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 22, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219131049.htm
Cornell Food & Brand Lab. "Healthier happy meals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219131049.htm (accessed April 22, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Teva Offers $40 Billion for Mylan

Teva Offers $40 Billion for Mylan

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 21, 2015) — Generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical is offering $82 a share, or $40 billion, for its smaller rival Mylan, in an alternative to Mylan&apos;s deal to buy Perrigo. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yemen Doctors at Breaking Point

Yemen Doctors at Breaking Point

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 21, 2015) — A Sanaa hospital struggles to cope with the high number of casualties with severe injuries, after an air strike left at least 25 dead and hundreds wounded. Deborah Lutterbeck reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Tutu Tuesdays' Brighten Faces at Kids' Hospital

'Tutu Tuesdays' Brighten Faces at Kids' Hospital

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Doctors and nurses have started wearing ballet tutus every Tuesday to cheer up young hospital patients at a Florida hospital. It started with a request made by a nervous patient -- now, almost the entire staff is wearing the tutus. (April 21) Video provided by AP
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