Call it the McDonald’s effect. Every time researchers test to see whether posting calorie counts on menu boards for Big Macs, fries, and shakes will drive consumers to order less calorie-laden options they come up with disappointing results.
In research published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, Carnegie Mellon University researchers handed information on recommended calorie consumption to New York City diners heading into McDonald’s both before and after the city began requiring fast-food chains to post calorie counts on menus in 2008. Between then and now, the researchers found that calorie consumption didn’t drop at all and actually increased a bit. That indicates that people — at least those who go to McDonald’s — are for some reason gravitating toward higher calorie meals.