Researchers conducted a study to see if displaying the amount of calories on a fast food restaurant menu would help people to lower the amount of calories people consumed. Their conclusion: the calorie listings had little to no affect on peoples diet choices. To which I say: Shocking! (NOT!)
People who participated in the study were first given a pamphlet that suggested they consume no more than 2,000 calories a day, or 650 to 800 calories per meal. In other words, they had the answer key with them when they bellied up to the cash register.
My first question: Did they understand what the word consume means? Because more than half of the participants ordered MORE than what they should have. A third of the participants ordered a meal that was over 1,000 calories! Is this behavior really shocking coming from people in a fast food restaurant? The pamphlet should have read: “DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING BUT THE APPLE SLICES AND THE BOTTLED WATER!”
Are people really interested in their health or diet when you they go into these places? Do they walk in planning on making smart decisions or quick mindless ones? This is the real problem. Put what you want on the menus people are going there to eat whatever the heck they want to. Fast food diners WANT a meal loaded with tons of fat and salt that will take them away from their miserable life or their miserable job for just a few precious minutes. It is probably the high point of their day. Either that, or they are starving and pressed for time. They are not interested in making healthier choices otherwise they wouldn’t be in there in the first place!
To solve this problem you need a vastly different approach and listing calories as a means to change behavior may work in some restaurants but I predict in fast food restaurants it will continue to be ignored.