Research done by University of Michigan marketing professor Aradhna Krishna into the effects that size labels on food and drinks has garnered some interesting (if maybe just a little predictable) results.
In one experiment using cookies, she gave test subjects the same size cookie but labeled as medium and as large. She found that those eating the “medium” cookies tended to eat more of them and thought they’d eaten less than if they’d eaten the “large.” Which totally explains why Americans are all so fat, right?
“Krishna said the psychological principle at work has big ramifications because a 32-ounce soda at McDonald’s is called a large soda, but the same drink at Wendy’s is called a medium,” write NPR’s Helen Thompson and Shankar Vedantam. “A small coffee is 10 ounces at Dunkin’ Donuts and 12 ounces at Caribou Coffee. When you trust labels, you could end up eating and drinking a lot more than you thought.”
So give some thought to these things the next time you eat out. We’re not telling you not to eat fast food. I mean, what are we, a nanny-state government? (We say, only half-seriously.) But you’re young. You want to live forever don’t you? Let’s get smarter about what we put into our bodies!