The fallacy of the educated consumer

The fallacy of the educated consumer

It is not the information that makes the difference, but better use of information through better judgment. We are not all equally gifted or talented. This will still be true in the information society.

Lee Kuan Yew

Does being presented with calorie information affect the decisions you take ? 

I had dinner at Little Italy. We ordered a pizza with 1500 calories and a pasta with around 2000 calories. 

With growing awareness of nutrition labels, calorie counts and the need for altering our ‘lifestyle’, does being presented with this information make a difference in how you take a call. 

Here’s how you use the information to make better decisions:

* A 1500 calorie pizza with 8 slices is roughly 200 calories a slice. Stop at 2 slices. A couple of spoons from a 1600 calorie pasta is 250-300 calories. Between those two portions, you have consumed between a fourth or a third of your daily calorie requirement. 
* Armed with the information, that you are going to have an indulgent meal loaded with fat and carbohydrates, you eat a little more vegetable and protein in the meals prior to or following the eat out. 
* You order less. You pick restaurants that emphasis more protein or provide smaller portions. 

Here’s what is weighing against you:

* By the age of 21, you have made at least 30,000 decisions about what you eat and how much under the supervision of ‘adults’. There is a high chance none of those adults educated you on impulse control or portion control. 
* Food has been used to celebrate, reward and bond. Any restraint is perceived as being a buzzkill. 
* We are generically schooled about junk food. The problem is even nuts, eggs, meat, dairy and grain can be unhealthy in the wrong amount and prepped without thought. 
* Dicey numbers: Little Italy lists a mashed potato serving of 400 grams at 350 calories. This is very very improbable. The number is a lot closer to 800-1000 calories. While you don’t need precise numbers when you eat out, the numbers need to be vaguely right for them to be useful.


It all comes down to do you care? Information matters only if you are motivated enough to use it to make better choices.