0
Summaries for Patients |

Meal Size Explains Errors in Estimating How Many Calories Are in a Meal FREE

[+] Article and Author Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Meal Size, Not Body Size, Explains Errors in Estimating the Calorie Content of Meals.” It is in the 5 September 2006 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 145, pages 326-332). The authors are B. Wansink and P. Chandon.


Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(5):I-51. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-145-5-200609050-00003
Text Size: A A A

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

People who try to lose weight often count calories. For that reason, their ability to guess the number of calories in a meal is important. Most people guess too low; they think that their meal has fewer calories than it actually has. People who are overweight are especially likely to make this mistake, which may make it more difficult for them to lose weight.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To obtain a more clear understanding of why overweight people guess incorrectly, which might lead to ways to help them more accurately guess the calories in their meals and lose weight.

Who was studied?

In the first part of the study, the researchers studied people who were just finishing a noon-hour meal in 1 of 2 fast-food chain restaurants. In the second part, they studied 40 undergraduate university students who were taking a course that required them to participate in an experiment.

How was the study done?

In the first part of the study, a trained research assistant asked the diners to estimate the number of calories in the meal that they had just consumed. While the diner was answering the questions, the researcher counted the number of each type of food container and wrapper on the person's tray. The restaurant provides the calorie content of each food item on its Web site, so the researcher could calculate the actual calorie content of the meal. In the second part of the study, the researchers displayed 15 different meals purchased at a fast-food restaurant and asked the participants to guess the number of calories in each meal. The actual calorie content varied from 445 to 1780 calories. In both studies, the researchers asked the participants to give their height and weight.

What did the researchers find?

Participants accurately guessed the number of calories in small meals but not in large meals. They tended to think that larger meals contained fewer calories than they actually did. The participants' body weights had nothing to do with the accuracy of their guesses. However, because overweight people in the first study tended to eat larger meals, they were more likely to say that their meal contained fewer calories than it actually contained.

What are the limitations of the study?

The researchers did not measure the height and weight of the participants. The study was limited to meals from fast-food restaurants.

What are the implications of the study?

People tend to think that larger meals contain fewer calories than they actually do. Overweight people tend to eat larger meals, so they are more likely to make mistakes in counting calories than are normal-weight people. This study explains why overweight people are more likely to make mistakes in counting calories.

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Journal Club
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Insights into the interactions of CO2 with amines: a DFT benchmark study. Phys Chem Chem Phys Published online Jul 11, 2014.;
Considerations for protein intake in managing weight loss in athletes. Eur J Sport Sci Published online Jul 11, 2014.;
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)