Fast Food and Fat

Matsa and Anderson next looked at data on individual eating habits from a survey conducted between 1994 and 1996. When eating out, people reported consuming about 35 percent more calories on average than when they ate at home. But importantly, respondents reduced their caloric intake at home on days they ate out (that's not to say that people were watching their weight, since respondents who reported consuming more at home also tended to eat more when going out). Overall, eating out increased daily caloric intake by only 24 calories.

The researchers also find that greater access to fast food restaurants, as created by new highway construction, doesn't much matter for weight. Here is more, including a link to the original paper. (From marginalrevolution)

The article referenced suggests that fast food has nothing to do with obesity. I'm not so sure that's the proper conclusion to these statistics. Has anyone asked if maybe it's not all about the calories? Maybe it's the nutritional value. Fast food isn't exactly "healthy" food, and maybe that affects one's metabolism (not to mention increased risk for such things as diabetes ). All I'm saying is that I don't think this justifies constant intake of fast food.