If You’re Fat, Don’t Blame McDonald’s

Um, yes, well, duh: Nope, McDonald’s Isn’t Making Us Fat:

Don’t blame fast-food restaurants for why America seems so supersized. This new economic study from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley seems to disprove the the common nutritional myth:

The results find no evidence of a causal link between restaurants and obesity, and the estimates are precise enough to rule out any meaningful effect. Analysis of food intake micro data suggests that although consumers eat larger meals at restaurants than at home (even after accounting for selection), they offset these calories at other times of day. We conclude that public health policies targeting restaurants are unlikely to reduce obesity but could negatively affect consumer welfare.

Don’t misunderstand: even if fast-food and other restaurants were 100% causally responsible for someone’s being fat, government would have no right to intervene. But, it’s still nice to see some rational sense interjected into the debate.

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