I've read studies about this myself, I pay a lot of attention working in fast food. Like in this article, people often eat more calories at Subway or on a salad then they eat at a Burger King, McDonald's or Varsity restaurant. The 'healty' impression of the Subway sandwich makes it okay to get one of the Otis Spunkenmeyer Chocolate Oatmeal cookies or a bag of the chips merchandised at the end of the counter. Dessert sales when I worked for BK were only on 6% of our total tickets that included food items, except when we had 'limited time' desserts. (That doesn't include tickets that were only dessert items like shakes and frozen coke). I've often wondered how many people add the cookie at Subway - I watched once when I was there and counted 23 customers, 14 of which got the cookie. I know that those numbers wouldn't hold out over a longer study, but that was 61% of the customers I watched over a half an hour or so. I heard several discussing with each other that they could have the cookie because of the healthy salad or sandwich.
DH had Subway for lunch today - the new Steak & Bacon Flatbread sandwich, no chips, no cookie, water to drink. 470 calories I believe the website said, or something close. He said the person in line in front of him had a double meat Italian BMT foot long, chips, soda, cookie and joked to his budy that he was eating lite. I added it up, that footlong was 1260 calories alone, without any dressings. Add the chips, the cookie and the drink and he was probably close to 1700 calories. And seemed to really believe that he was eating lite, because of all the veggies he put on his sandwich.
Salads at restaurants are bad, too - I see salads that have 1500 calories in them but people think 'salad = healthy'. I watch one of my coworkers eat what is a probably a 150-200 calorie salad every day, but then on a lot of days adds 400 calories of fried chicken fingers and 400-560 calories of dressing between the dip she uses for the extra chicken and the salad. So her healthy meal has now gone to 1000+ calories. And she is trying to lose weight - swears she only eats 1350 calories per day.
My industry gets a lot of flack for making people overweight, but a lot of it is portioning and self control. I eat a grilled chicken sandwich here at work almost every day - 208 calories according to the lab that analyzed it. (Small chicken, I'll admit that) I have a list of things from fast food restaurants that I eat on weekends we have my stepson that all are 450 calories or less. I just have to know it is fast food and resist the temptation to get a side with it.
Like this article said, people eating fast food know that they are eating at a 'bad for me' location. Full service restaurants and places like Subway & Jason's Deli have a better reputation, so people get whacked in the face with a high calorie count because they don't go into the restaurant as an informed eater like they might to a BK or McD. I got an entree salad at a chain restaurant once that if I had ordered it according to menu build would have been 1675 calories. That is more than I could eat that day!
Apparently I have strong opinions on this subject.
Thanks for the article!
Edit: Unfortunately, I also do see people ordering more fried items at places that advertise 'transfat free cooking oil' and thinking that no trans fat makes it okay for them, some even think it is 'good' for them....