Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Lite Food, Heavy Eaters: Children of Jared

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Lite Food, Heavy Eaters: Children of Jared

Article excerpt

"As the popularity of healthier menus increases, so does the weight of many Americans," Pierre Chandon and Brian Wansink write in the Journal of Consumer Research (October 2007). One culprit, it seems, is those healthier menus.

In an experiment conducted by Chandon and Wansink, participants were asked to estimate the number of calories in a Subway 12-inch Italian sandwich and in a Big Mac. Their answers averaged 439 calories for the sub and 557 for the burger. In troth, the sandwich has 900 calories and the Big Mac 600. The caloric disparity between the two meals was further increased by Subway patrons' tendency to order high-calorie accompaniments. Dining on what they wrongly considered a low-cal main course, they splurged on drinks and desserts.

"From a public-health perspective," the authors conclude, Americans ought to view "all restaurants serving large portions of calorie-dense foods, such as McDonald's but also Subway, as an indulgence."

Obesity is certainly a health issue-but a public-health issue? Not necessarily, physician Jay Bhattaeharya writes in the Hoover Digest (Summer 2007). …

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