Studies suggest that the more you purchase fast food, the greater your girth. “This should come as no surprise because what is often ordered is mostly out-of-control portions higher in calories, fat, sugar, and salt than what would be served at home,” says Ayoob. Even shunning the Golden Arches for what you believe to be a smarter option could pack on pounds. Researchers reported in the Journal of Consumer Research that you are likely to underestimate the calories in a meal from a restaurant marketed as “healthier,” like Subway, than those in a meal from a perceived bad guy such as McDonald's. This mistake often leads to overeating when you purchase extra or bigger sides, suggest the study authors.
Parents should also take heed of a recent University of Minnesota study suggesting that adolescents who are part of families that rely on fewer than three purchased meals per week are more likely to consume milk and vegetables with meals and less prone to indulge in soda and chips at home.