Cheesecake is an American favorite. Top it off with fresh ingredients and it can even be considered healthy. Even dieters love to have a slice of this dessert once in a while. But the truth is that this dessert contains nearly 720 calories.

Another dish that is considered very healthy in the U.S. is the chicken salad. It contains 550 calories and many fast food lovers are not aware of it.

All of the above examples indicate that Americans may be unaware of the number of calories they are consuming each day. As such, obesity and overweight remain two of the major health problems among people in the U.S.

Americans' Love For Junk Food And Its Impact

Nearly 40 percent of Americans love to eat food from outside at least once a week and many of them choose junk food items like fries, milkshake, cheeseburger and fried chicken.

When junk food is regularly included in the diet without considering its calorie content, it leads to overweight and obesity. Eventually, these people develop chronic diseases like cancer and heart problems.

Around 93.3 million adults or 39.8 percent of people in the U.S. are affected by obesity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated. The agency also reported that nearly 13.7 million children and teenagers are clinically obese.

New FDA Policy To Fight Obesity Epidemic

In order to combat the obesity epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged every chain restaurant with at least 20 locations to include calorie details of each item on the menu. Still, many Americans are unable to estimate the calorie counts of their favorite items, a study suggested.

The study published in Treadmill Reviews reported that only 29 percent or fewer than one in three Americans bother to look into calorie information before going out to eat. According to the research, 71 percent of people in the U.S. believe that calorie counting could make them pick low-calorie items.

For the study, the research team chose six favorite food items of Americans and asked 977 people to estimate the calorie counts of each. Cheesecake was the item with the highest calories and fried chicken was the item with the lowest calorie count on the list.

However, the perceptions of many participants were wrong. About 87 percent of people underestimated the calorie count of cheesecake and nearly 71 percent of people overestimated the calories of fried chicken.

"One of the most interesting findings of this survey was the fact that more than one in 10 survey respondents couldn't accurately estimate the calorie count to any of the six foods we presented to them," co-author Ryan Serpico told International Business Times. "It is shocking to see such a large portion of the population unable to come close, especially for foods like cheesecake, where respondents were underestimating 299 calories on average."

"Our study shows that Americans need to pay more attention to the nutritional information that can be found on restaurant chain menus," Serpico said.

Cheesecake Celebrate National Cheesecake Day with delicious free cheesecake.  Photo: Hans Braxmeier/Pixabay