What's Better For You: McDonald's or Subway?

If you read my blog regularly, you already know the answer to the question posed in the headline above (neither one). However, an informal study conducted jointly by Cornell and the University of Illinois, called The McSubway Project, demonstrates how consumers fool themselves into believing they're eating healthier food than it really is...

Researchers stopped 300 consumers after finishing their lunches at Subway and McDonald's, then asked them what they ate and to estimate how many calories they consumed. Then, scientists calculated the actual amount of calories people ate, subtracting any leftovers from the final total.

McDonald's customers were much closer to the real calorie totals than those frequenting Subway. McDonald's consumers estimated they ate an average 670 calories, only about 40 calories off the real number (710).

However, people who chose Subway, researchers said, experienced a "halo effect," allowing them to believe they ate more smartly than they actually did. The numbers certainly prove it, as customers estimated they ate 335 calories, some 67 percent less than their actual total (560).

More evidence, your best bet is to avoid fast-food restaurants altogether. As is the case with many people, I have very little free time. However, I prepare almost all of my meals myself to preserve my health. It is a commitment, but it can be done. If you're looking for some healthy alternatives to junk food, you'll want to review Colleen Huber's awesome piece about some healthy and inexpensive whole food options.

USA Today October 19, 2005

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