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Many Fast-Food Diners Would Rather Choose Smaller Portions Than Heed Calorie Data

February 8, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-food diners would rather get smaller portions in their restaurant meals than read – and heed – calories postings, according to the U.S. study. When servers asked whether customers would like to “downsize” starchy side dishes at a Chinese fast-food restaurant 33 percent gladly cut back, saving an average 200 calories each meal. The offer of a discount on the down-sized meal had virtually no impact on the decision about smaller portions. The researchers said they hoped the study would help restaurants understand that helping diners exercise portion control won’t alienate customers, a finding that may be “counterintuitive.” It is “an interesting and easy strategy to implement that could help their customers make healthier choices,” they said.
Janet Schwartz et al., "Inviting Consumers To Downsize Fast-Food Portions Significantly Reduces Calorie Consumption", Health Affairs, February 08, 2012, © Project HOPE
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