Bigger Portions Weigh Down Healthy Choices

That sub may have less fat than a Big Mac—but not with that cookie

By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 16, 2007 10:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – Choosing Subway over McDonalds doesn't help if you eat more when you're there. A new study shows that people underestimate calories when eating relatively healthier food, leading them to eat more and get just as fat. "We have to move away from thinking of food in 'good food/bad food' (terms) and think also about 'how much food," says a researcher.

Participants in the study not only underestimated calories, but also were more likely to buy calorie-heavy sides like soft drinks and cookies when they were choosing comparatively healthy fare. Researchers say this type of thinking sheds light on the so-called "French paradox"—the French may eat fatty foods, but they don't eat too much, so they're not fat.

A McDonalds's sign across from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, welcomes fans Thursday, May 24, 2007, on Chicago's North Side. McDonalds Corporation executives, meeting Thursday for their annual shareholder meeting, said the company is also looking at creative ways to integrate fruits and vegetables to their menu. (AP...
A McDonalds's sign across from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, welcomes fans Thursday, May 24, 2007, on Chicago's North Side. McDonalds Corporation executives, meeting Thursday for their annual...   (Associated Press)
(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)   (Associated Press)
Customers enter a Burger King Restaurant, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006, in Tallahassee, Fla. Burger King pledged Wednesday Sept. 12, 2007 to offer healthier fast-food items for American children under 12, with plans to sell and market flame-broiled Chicken Tenders and apples cut to resemble thick-cut french fries.(AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Customers enter a Burger King Restaurant, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006, in Tallahassee, Fla. Burger King pledged Wednesday Sept. 12, 2007 to offer healthier fast-food items for American children under 12,...   (Associated Press)
(AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, McDonald's)
(AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, McDonald's)   (Associated Press)
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