While chain restaurants have been required to post the calories of their foods since 2018, it seems plenty of us still really don’t get how many calories we are putting into our bodies when we eat certain fast food meals.
A new study, titled “Perceptions vs. Reality: Chain Restaurant Food,” asked 977 folks their thoughts on the calorie content of foods like cheeseburgers, fries, cheesecake, chicken salad, milkshake, and fried chicken and the answers were surprising.
It turns out 41% of people underestimated the calories in a cheeseburger (which is 530 calories), while 31% overestimated it. Plus 60% were wrong about the calories in fries, off by an average of 101 calories (it's 550 calories).As for the other foods:
- 87% underestimated the calories in cheesecake, estimating the calories at 421, when it’s actually 720
- 53% underestimated chicken salad, with the average person saying it was 374 calories, when it was 430
- 47% underestimated a milkshake, saying it was 570 calories, when it was 580
Interestingly, more people overestimated fried chicken, than underestimated it. In fact, 61% overestimated the calories, guessing it was 446 calories, when it fact it was only 330. Only 19% actually underestimated how fattening fried chicken really is.
Overall, 12% of people in the study underestimated the calories in all of the foods, while only 4% overestimated them, and nobody got them all right. Guess ignorance is bliss.