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Some Need Clearer Idea Of How Many Calories They Are Consuming

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Even with calorie labels readily available, many people are still underestimating how much they are actually consuming. NY1's Health reporter Erin Billups filed the following report.

According to Dr. Howard Shapiro, a weight loss physician, a latte has 280 calories while a coffee with skim milk has only 20 calories. Most would not guess the two drinks have a difference of 260 calories.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, adults underestimate how many calories they are consuming at fast food restaurants by 20 percent.

"People aren't aware of the little things that add to a particular item. They look at the item and they say 'This is small, this doesn't look like much,'" says Shapiro.

Teens underestimate how much they are eating by 34 percent, according to the study. Weight loss physician Howard Shapiro says reading labels at restaurants and grocery stores is a must.

"This is the first generation that's going to have a shorter lifespan than the previous generation, 'cause they're eating foods that are not healthy," he says.

He challenges folks to start making their own comparisons, by showing NY1 a few of his own.

"For lunch, a lot of people may pick up tacos. They think it's very healthy. Chicken tacos can't be that bad, so this chicken taco right here, 760 calories for this. If you have a few chips and salsa, that's another 590 calories," Shapiro. "This, which is a veggie taco, in place of the chicken tacos, this is 275 calories."

Shapiro also shows higher-calorie foods from undisclosed fast food restaurants. A parfait is labeled only 290 calories, but Shapiro says to watch out for hidden amounts of salt and sugar.

It keeps going and going. A simple sausage biscuit sandwich is about 430 calories, but Shapiro says making a quick sandwich at home with veggie sausage and an english muffin would be a better alternative.

"It's a food that is very similar and you've saved yourself over 200 calories," says Shapiro.

The bottom line is that diet-related diseases like diabetes are on the rise, which is why Shapiro says now more than ever, people need to make better food choices.

"What you eat is what you're going to become and it's going to make you healthy or not healthy," he says.

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