We loved today’s Washington Post blog post on raising calorie consciousness! Would you think twice about what you eat if you knew exactly how much exercise it would take to burn off those calories?
Roberto Ferdman specifically discusses the idea relating to soda, saying “Nothing makes Americans stop drinking soda quite like understanding how much exercise they’ll need to burn it off.” He notes that in general straight calorie counts tend to be ignored, but seeing the consequences in terms of exercise can make a difference. His article cites a few different studies on the idea, and also discusses the mixed result of NYC’s new regulation forcing food chains to post calorie counts on menus in an effort to encourage more responsible consumption. He concludes that the idea “might be a worthwhile consideration for future calorie labeling legislation aimed at curbing the amount of unhealthy foods Americans buy.”
NPR also took on the topic in the “All Things Considered” October 16 story Reality Check: To Burn Off A Soda, You’ll Have To Run 50 Minutes. This piece focuses on the details of the Johns Hopkins study which looked at how low-income tweens and teenagers would react to exercise equivalent postings vs. calorie postings. The findings are published in the American Journal of Public Health. In the end, the results do seem to point to this type of data helping people put the calorie counts in context.
Authors Catherine Jones and Elaine Trujillo had a similar idea with The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook. Their goal isn’t necessarily to stop people from eating what they enjoy, but to make them aware of the balance it will take to work off the calories they take in. Each of their delicious recipes includes data for calories in (nutritional data and calorie count, including diabetic exchange) and calories out (the exercise it takes to burn those calories off) so that you can make informed choices in your diet in order to find and maintain that balance.
Check out the recipe for Perfect Pumpkin Bread for a tasty fall example!