Calorie Count Information Works. On Smart People.

News that UK McDonald's will start displaying calorie counts on their wall menus made naysayers yawn. "Does anyone really walk into McDonald's or KFC and not know there are healthier choices available?" asks the Guardian.

But a recent gigantor study in New York City found that posted calorie counts do make a difference to about one in six customers—those who actually pay attention to the calorie counts. Those who do tend to order about 100 fewer calories.

I don't know about you, but it matters if the calorie count is glaring at me right from the place I order. Since I was a young sprout, restaurants have had calorie information on websites, wall-displayed charts, and pamphlets you can request. But it's only in the last few years that restaurants have put the counts right there on the menus. Once you see that the bowl of chili is 380 calories, and the bowl of chili with cheese, sour cream, and bread is 680, it messes with your head. Even if you ordered the cheese-topped chili anyway you wouldn't be able to enjoy it.

Am I wrong? Plus—and this is really weird—I find I'm less likely to eat at restaurants that have calorie information on the menu. I haven't been to Chevys (a Mexican chain) since I realized that even the "healthy" burrito I was in the habit of ordering had somewhere in the region of 1,000 calories. Yet I've been to a million other Mexican restaurants since, and happily ordered carnitas and guacamole as far as the eye can see.

What about you?

Image source: CHOW.com