The same study showed that people are more likely to indulge in sides, drinks, and desserts if their entrée is perceived as healthier (like a sandwich from Subway), than if their entrée seems less healthy (like a Big Mac from McDonald's). These additional drinks, sides, and desserts contained up to 131 percent more calories for those eating “healthy” entrees—even though their entrees already contained 50 percent more calories than the supposedly unhealthy ones. “It’s a ‘health halo’, where we assume everything on the menu at a restaurant is good for us,” says Wansink. “If people eating at Subway think they’ve earned some kind of calorie credit, it can lead to substantial weight gain.”
Eat More and Super Size
When it comes down to it, the entire food marketing industry is based on selling us the idea that we need to “eat more,” which in turn increases their sales.
Nestle believes that many of the nutritional problems facing Americans, such as obesity, can be traced to this marketing goal. “It extends beyond billboards and television commercials,” says Nestle. “The problems also include substantial increases in the sizes of food packages and restaurant portions.
This brings about the super-size phenomenon, which lures in customers who simply cannot resist a deal.
“People like bargains and the price of food is so low relative to other costs that food service places make lots of money on large portions,” says Nestle. “By this time, research shows clearly that large portions have more calories, encourage people to eat more calories, and cause people to underestimate calories more than they would with smaller portions.”
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