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This Guy Dedicated an Entire Podcast to Finding McDonald’s Pizza

This Guy Dedicated an Entire Podcast to Finding McDonald’s Pizza



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‘Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s’ is the oddly specific podcast where one journalist chased down McDonald's pizza

We’ve never heard of such ceaseless devotion to such a trivial task.

The late ‘80s were a strange time: Teased hair and shoulder pads were the height of fashion, and McDonald’s thought it was a good idea to start making pizza. But even though it’s been a long time since most of us have sampled a McPizza, one enterprising fast-food journalist decided to hunt down the last two remaining McDonald’s locations in the United States that still sell the coveted item. His reward was a floppy, oven-fired personal pie, and our reward was 35 oddly entertaining podcast episodes in which Brian Thompson attempts to answer the all-important question: “Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s?”

Thompson’s broadcast style is deadpan and satirizes the ever-popular “true crime” podcasts out there, like Sarah Koenig’s Serial. But instead of looking for a missing person or digging up a cold case file, Thompson spends 35 episodes digging into the mystery of the abandoned (and often ridiculed) fast-food pizza. He finds his Holy Grail in episode 34, in Pomeroy, Ohio, one of only two McDonald’s locations that still serve the cheesy stuff (the other being in West Virginia).

McDonald’s pizza was introduced in the late 1980s and continued to show moderate success through the mid-1990s when it slowly but surely disappeared from all McMenus. The pizza has achieved a cult status amongst fast-food aficionados. Just last week, three random guys in London decided to embark on a 1,000-mile journey to try the pizza. They called it “mundane and mediocre.”

Could all of this buzz be enough to bring back the beloved McPizza? We can only dream. The world’s largest McDonald’s, which recently opened in Orlando, actually serves pizza and waffles, but it’s a newer recipe than the McPizza that Thompson so steadfastly sought.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.


Fast Food Restaurants&rsquo Sneakiest Tricks

Burger King&rsquos slogan once was, &ldquoIt just tastes better.&rdquo And while few would probably argue against the deliciousness of a juicy burger or hot batch of French fries, there&rsquos no secret behind why you think it tastes so good. &ldquoFast-food companies have one goal: to get you to come to their restaurant and not the place across the street,&rdquo says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life and a leading expert on eating behavior and food marketing.

Wansink argues that fast-food joints aren't evil&mdashjust business-oriented companies. But he does admit most restaurants tweak their recipes, dining environment, and advertising campaigns to make you crave a Big Mac over a Whopper, or a Frosty more than a McFlurry. Here are eight secret tricks most major fast-food chains use to entice you.

Finger Lickin' Good. Hot n' Juicy. Restaurants label their food specifically to increase the craveability of it, says Wansink.

&ldquoUsing descriptive keywords has a phenomenal impact on how we view a dining experience,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIf you market a hamburger as juicy, people eat it and think, &lsquoMan, this is incredibly juicy!&rsquo&rdquo

The burger, of course, has to hold its own, but your taste experience is incredibly subjective. Naming items with descriptive terms likes &ldquosmokehouse burger&rdquo or &ldquobuttery biscuit&rdquo ensures these are the features that will stand out and heighten your experience.

It&rsquos easy to resist influence when you can skip over Pizza Hut ads thanks to TiVo, but what about your drive to work? A 2013 UCLA study found that areas with more outdoor advertisements dedicated to fast food and soft drinks were more likely to have overweight residents than places where al fresco ads were for other goods.

Almost every chain does it: Second to TV time, most fast food companies spend more on billboards, bus ads, and other outside space than any on other media outlet, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Upselling&mdasha marketing strategy that promotes upgrades or add-ons&mdashencourages customers to spend a small amount to upgrade to a larger portion of food. And while you think you&rsquore getting a deal, these so-called bargains are actually costing you more.

&ldquoThe restaurant makes more money, while you are really just buying extra calories,&rdquo says Margo Wootan, D.Sc., of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit watchdog group that advocates for safer and more healthful foods.

In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that when choosing among the same items, people opted for larger portions when buying as a combo meal than a la carte.

Bundles and upgrades actually mean unnecessary money and calories: Doubling your drink from 7-Eleven's Gulp to a Double Gulp will only cost you 52 cents extra, but it tacks on 400 more calories . . . and that's still 52 cents you wouldn&rsquot have spent otherwise, Wootan says.

Restaurants know a smell can induce cravings, and most of the time, food establishments take advantage of this, Wansink says.

In fact, there are entire companies to assist them: ScentAir, among others, has managed to duplicate the smell of waffle cones, popcorn, cinnamon buns, coffee, and even grilled hamburgers. They sell the scents to places that use artificial odors to replace a food&rsquos natural aroma, or to enhance the real thing.

And while the vast majority of their client lists aren&rsquot disclosed, those included on ScentAir&rsquos website are McDonalds&mdashwhich uses, among other scents, apple pie to remind you to order dessert&mdashand 7-Eleven.

And the smell can actually make your food taste better: Wansink&rsquos team conducted a study that found smelling odors consistent with what you&rsquore eating makes you like the meal more.

&ldquoIt definitely makes the dining experience much more attractive to people, but unfortunately it also makes you want to get the fries instead of the salad,&rdquo he adds.

If you could feed your family, eat your meal in peace, and have your kids entertain themselves, wouldn&rsquot you? That's what most fast-food places are banking on.

&ldquoKids don&rsquot care about the food as much as the McDonald&rsquos ball pit,&rdquo says Wansink. &ldquoAs a parent, having a chance to get some work taken care of while my kids are entertained for 45 minutes definitely influences me to consider restaurants with a play place over others.&rdquo

Wendy&rsquos, McDonald&rsquos, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, Carl&rsquos Jr., Burger King&mdashwhy do they all have the same color scheme? Because red and yellow have been proven to make you want to eat more.

A handful of studies show that yellow stimulates appetite, partially because seeing the color actually causes your brain to secrete serotonin, the happiness hormone. And a University of Rochester study found that when people see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful, like inhaling your burger in under 2 minutes.

Most of us forfeit asking, &ldquoWhat's in this?&rdquo when it tastes as good as McDonald&rsquos fries. After all, we know fat, sugar, and salt will make anything delicious&mdashand addictive. But the flavor may come from more than a few extra spices.

Chicken McNuggets, for example, are made up of real chicken&mdashin addition to dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and autolyzed yeast extract, a chemical similar to MSG whose main purpose is to artificially enhance the taste and craveability of food.

Wendy&rsquos Frosty contains guar gum, cellulose gum, and carrageenan&mdashall used to manufacture a thicker texture, which studies have shown people find more satisfying.

Plus, refined carbohydrates&mdashwhich include almost everything served at a fast-food joint&mdashcan trigger hankerings similar to the cravings drug addicts experience, according to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating by yourself is mighty lonely, but much healthier: Studies show you consume about 30 percent more when you're with another person, Wansink says.

If your buddy buys a dessert, you feel more justified in getting one as well. And the larger the group, the more indulgent you are: &ldquoIn a group of seven or more, people consume about 90 percent more calories on average than when they're by themselves,&rdquo he adds.

And with spacious tables, no complications of a waiter or split checks, and great deals like two large pizzas for 10 bucks or family-size buckets of chicken, fast-food restaurants are a haven for accommodating as big of a group as you can gather.