How much exercise to burn off lunch? Activity-labeled menus - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

How much exercise to burn off lunch? Activity-labeled menus could be the future

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A lot of restaurants now include the calories beside menu items, but could an upgrade to that practice be on the horizon.  New research indicates folks would choose lighter calorie meal options if they knew how long it would take to burn off their lunch options.  It's one thing to know the number of calories, but it is a whole different beast to realize how much exercise you'll have to do to equal out your decision.  An activity-labeled menu could be the next step in healthy eating lifestyles, as a way to deter people from eating larger calorie foods.

In the study, researchers from Texas Christian University (TCU) replaced calorie counts on menus with the number of minutes of brisk walking it would take to entirely burn off the calories in each meal.  Dr. Meena Shah and Ashlei James tested 300 men and women between the ages of 18 and 30.  The researchers chose brisk walking since it's a physical activity most people can do, and can easily fit into their day, as opposed to running or jogging.

Each participant randomly ordered from one of three menus: one without calories, one with calorie counts and one with minutes of walking need.  Each menu contained the same options: burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, salad, fries, desserts, soda and water.  Folks who saw the amount of walking time needed to burn off their calories ordered and ate an average of 139 fewer calories than the other study participants.  This could imply putting calories in context may help individuals make healthier decisions.

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