A look at the city's calorie posting law suggests people's taste buds win out over concern about their waistlines.
The study by professors at New York University and Yale observed fast food eaters at four chains in city neighborhoods with higher obesity rates. Researchers found people actually ordered food with slightly more calories than an average customer did before the calorie posting law went into effect, in July of 2008.
The study found that only about half the customers even noticed the calorie counts. Only about one-quarter of those people say it influenced their ordering.
"They see a quarter pounder has a lot of calories in it, but they still wanna eat it," said McDonald's employee Ayania Wellington.
"It's not good for health, you really aren't going to live as long and you're not going to be anywhere as near as healthy," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "But once again, this is America and you have a right to eat what you want to eat, but it's the government's responsibility to tell you whether it is dangerous."
The findings were published in Tuesday's online version of Health Affairs.
Calorie positing advocates tell the New York Times the findings suggest people in impoverished areas are more concerned about pricing than calories.
The city, which initiated the law in April 2008 for chain restaurants, is doing a much larger analysis, which it plans to release in a few months.