Will Run for Food

By 1st Lt. Brittney Piche
Dietetic Intern, Department of Nutritional Medicine
Brooke Army Medical Center

What if I told you that you would have to run for two hours to burn off the calories in a piece of red velvet cheesecake? Would you still eat it?

Many restaurants have made the nutrition information of their menu items readily available for display in the restaurant, on the menu, or on their website. With all of this information available, why does the number of overweight and obese Americans continue to rise?

Recent research from Texas Christian University suggests that instead of displaying the nutrition facts of foods, people are more likely to make lower-calorie choices if they know the amount of exercise needed to burn the calories consumed. Maybe it’s time we attack the calorie issue from another angle. If people knew how much physical activity it would take to compensate for their food choices, we may see them reaching for the fruit cup instead of the curly fries.  Based on my experience with patients at BAMC, some of the most commonly consumed fast-food items and their physical activity demands are listed below:

 

Food

Calories

Exercise Needed*

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

440

1 hour aerobics class
Bacon &Cheese Burger

790

3 hours of bicycling (<10mph)
Chicken BLT Salad

600

2 hours of light rowing
6” Roast Beef Sandwich

320

1 hour of golf
Fruit Cup

110

10 minutes of kickboxing
Medium Curly Fries

540

1 hour of roller skating
Mayonnaise Packet

90

30 minutes of walking (3mph)
Medium Oreo Shake

790

2 hours swimming laps
Medium Cola

240

1hour of light weight lifting

*Exercise calories based on 155-person

 Surprised at these numbers? It may be time to make some changes to your fast-food choices, or time to buy some new gym clothes!  If you need special assistance with weight loss, call the BAMC Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at 916-7261.