Two-thirds of customers at fast-food restaurants underestimate their calorie intake, often by hundreds of calories, a recent study published in the journal BMJ has found.
Adults consumed 836 calories per meal and underestimated by 175 calories, on average. Teenagers ate 756 calories, but misjudged by 259 calories. About one in four people underestimated by more than 500 calories.
Underestimation was greatest among Subway diners, partly because of the chain’s “health halo” effect, the researchers suggested.
The Affordable Care Act will require calorie labeling at fast-food restaurants, though research on the effect of calorie displays has been mixed.
Young and middle-aged Americans get 10 to 15 percent of their calories from fast food, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.