Here’s another reason to consider including nutrition info on menus: When estimating the calorie content in fast-food meals, adults underestimate by 21%, children by 24% and adolescents by a shocking 34%, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers surveyed 1,877 adults, 1,178 adolescents and 330 school-age children at 89 fast-food restaurants in New England — including McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Wendy’s, KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts — between 2010 and 2011.
The study’s results were even worse than we expected: One-quarter of all participants underestimated the calorie content by at least 500 calories. The higher the calories, the more they underestimated. And interestingly, both adults and adolescents had larger underestimations at Subway than at any other fast-food restaurant. Apparently Subway’s marketing efforts to appear healthy and diet-friendly did the trick.
Below are the comparisons between the actual calorie content in each age group’s meals and their estimates.