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Fast-Food Meals Bigger Than You Think

September 23, 2006 | 7,813 views

Fast-food customers who order large or super-sized meals consume about 500 calories more than they think.

Given that Americans eat an average about three meals a week, 500 uncounted calories at each one can add up very quickly.

Over 100 adults were asked to estimate the calorie content of the meals they had just consumed at a variety of restaurants, including McDonald's and Subway.

Participants were also asked their height and weight. The customers' estimations were then compared to the actual calorie content.

The study found that people who ate larger meals estimated they had eaten an average of 675 calories, but had actually consumed 1,188, a 513-calorie difference.

In a second study, 40 undergraduates estimated the calories in 15 meals with different-size portions of chicken nuggets, french fries and Coca-cola. The students guessed that the larger meals contained roughly 1,000 calories, when in actuality they contained more than 1,300.

The studies also showed that overweight people are more likely to order bigger meals than those at a normal weight.



Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Not only does eating fast food expose you to addictive sugar and dangerous trans fats, but it also gives you more calories than you may think. It turns out that the larger a meal gets, the harder it becomes to estimate how many calories are involved (not to mention that when you eat out, you don't know how the meal is prepared, or with what ingredients, which adds to the difficulty).

Super-sizing tempts you to spend more money to buy extra calories you don't need.

Don't fall for the "supersize" savings gambit. Yes, the food may cost you less in the short run, but it will cost you far, far more in the long run. The money you save pales in comparison to the amount you could spend trying to regain your health.

Right now, about 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward highly processed foods. How can you possibly be healthy with a diet like that?

I will answer that question for you.

You can't.

You, a family member, or someone you pay, simply has to spend time in the kitchen cooking fresh wholesome meals if you have any hope of staying healthy.

Yes I know that is a major pain, BUT you simply don't have a choice. This of course is not always possible. As I write this I am getting ready to fly to Washington DC for a 3 day intense brainstorming session and I will have to rely on restaurant foods out there for my meals.

I do bring my eggs and celery with me. I am hoping the security folks don't confiscate them for fear they might contain a bomb. However, even if they don't that is only good for my breakfast and I am still stuck unless there is a Whole Foods I can't get to.

So, my approach is to consider it a failure if you can't get to home prepared meals. Just assume the worst, that every restaurant will be using ingredients you would never use at home and then probably microwaving the food.

The fact is that if you choose to rely on restaurant food for most of your meals, you are simply cutting off decades from your lifespan.

Rather than have 90% of your food as processed set a goal to reverse that ratio and strive for a diet of 90 percent non-processed food and only 10 percent from other sources. Not only will you enjoy numerous health benefits, but you will gain the satisfaction of preparing meals and being able to control the ingredients.

Yes, it takes more time and energy to follow the nutrition plan than to eat fast food, but doing so could:

  • Add years to your lifespan
  • Give you more energy than you know what to do with
  • Help you avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis

If you still haven't seen Morgan Spurlock's Super-Size Me documentary, I highly recommend it, as it will make you think twice about eating fast food, and give you plenty of motivation to start cooking healthy meals at home. Like many people,

I have almost no "free time" in my life, but still I am committed to preparing over 95 percent of my meals in order to preserve my health. It is a commitment, but a truly important one, and it can be done.



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