x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Food for thought

Even faced with the facts, many of us will continue to pursue an unhealthy lifestyle.

The latest news in the battle against obesity may come as a surprise: many of us will overeat even after we're warned about the dangers of doing so.

Researchers spoke to more than 1,000 diners before and after they visited two New York McDonald's restaurants for lunch. Some customers were given a leaflet advising them that the average man should eat no more than 800 calories at lunchtime, while women should restrict themselves to 650 calories. Others received advice about total daily intakes, while the rest received no advice at all.

Because McDonald's provides nutritional information - including that its signature Big Mac has 550 calories - the researchers were able to determine exactly how much the diners consumed. On average, all participants exceeded the recommended limits, with the men consuming 890 calories and the women 824. Interestingly, the people who received the advice leaflets consumed more calories than the people who didn't.

There are various theories as to what was going on, including that those who go to McDonald's are a self-selecting group; they know it is harmful but they simply do not care. Or perhaps it's that too many of us believe, to our peril, that a little bit more of what we fancy will always do us good.