Diet and Portion Patrol

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Experts say a new study shows it's just a human foible -- it's hard to guess calorie counts and really hard to estimate the extra calories in extra-large size meals.

A new study suggests most people don't recognize the calories in burgers, fried chicken and fries. And the researchers say the ballooning portion sizes at fast-food restaurants make the mission to cut the fat that much tougher.

A lead researcher says dieters may not suffer so much from lack of knowledge or motivation when they lie to themselves about what they eat. He says it's an "ingrained perceptual bias" that human beings can't control.

And it leads to one of the conclusions in the Annals of Internal Medicine: that virtually everyone underestimates the calorie count in fast food, but overweight people tend to buy large-size meals.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)