If you’re one who bases fast food orders on calorie counts found on the restaurant’s web site or in-store, you may be surprised to learn that one in five menu items is underestimated by at least 100 calories. While researchers at Tufts University found that most caloric counts at fast food joints were accurate (80% of the items they tested were less than 100 calories off), some chains were incredibly optimistic.
Chipotle’s burrito bowl with rice, black beans, peppers, onions, lettuce, tomatillo salsa, and cheese had 703 total calories, 249 more than their website claimed.
That’s nothing compared to On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, though: Their side order of chips and salsa was found to be a whopping 1,000 more calories than advertised on their site.
In fairness to the restaurants, it’s hard to ensure that every dish is prepared exactly the same way. Some employees will follow the instructions/recipe to the letter, while others may have a heavy hand when it comes to sauces, cheese and other items, which will inevitably result in variations in caloric content. Still, it may be best to use those calorie counts as a suggestion rather than the gospel.