Would You Like A 4.5 Mile Run With That Hamburger? New Research Proposes Fundamental Change In Labeling Information

220px-Soda_jerk_NYWTS220px-Evening_jogger_(4488221416)US health experts and scientists are pushing for any interesting change in packaging information — the extent of exercise needed to burn off the calories of a product. If you buy a bottle of coke, for example, the table would show that the soft drink would require a 4.2 mile run or a 42 minute walk to break even. Research shows that teenagers better understand that measurement than just a calorie count

The research published in the American Journal of Public Health by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and found that teenagers tended to chose smaller bottles when faced with the stark trade off. I am just surprised that any data would prompt a teenager to make a healthier or rational choice of any kind.

299px-CheeseburgerUnder this approach, a double cheeseburger would state that you would need a 5.6-mile hike before the calories are burned off as opposed to a smaller hamburger requiring a walk of 2.6 miles.

It is an interesting concept though I wonder how they factor in the daily caloric burn without exercise. There is a baseline of caloric burn in just moving around and functioning on a daily basis. It is not all a positive increase from a zero baseline. The danger might consumer overload in people calculating both calories and exercise times. However, the information does give an alternative way to looking at caloric choices.

45 thoughts on “Would You Like A 4.5 Mile Run With That Hamburger? New Research Proposes Fundamental Change In Labeling Information”

  1. How did I manage to reach 72 without all this information? Which I don’t read because I can’t see them! Do you know why there’s so much empty space in cereal cartons? They need the extra for all required printing! A mail address or an Internet address would provide access for this info to whomever gives a damn!

  2. Darren – thank you.

    Karen: Interesting. I have not tried steaks yet, but the beef sausage I got was most savory. Very lean, very grainy, but very delicious. I’ll keep your method in mind for when I finally get some steaks. I have been aware that grass fed is less fatty, so it may not be the most amazing taste at first- but I think I’ve been swept up by real food fever and my mindset is a good one for the grass fed beef.

    Oh, but right now I’m eating buffalo chicken pizza. What? It’s pizza night!

  3. Steg:

    When I first tried grass-fed beef and game, I found it too tough. But I was cooking it like grain finished, fatty beef. I’ve found the best tenderizer for lean, grass fed beef is to run a Jaccard tenderizer over it (It’s a bunch of tiny knives which work better than pinning), and salt it while it sits for about half an hour or so, lying in wait. Then cook low and slow. That high heat searing is great if you want shoe leather. It only works on really fatty beef.

  4. Ken – holy cats, the French RCIR had so much food! And pate! Can you imagine US and French troops sitting down to eat in the sand, side by side, and comparing their rations? Does the French RCIR also come with a waiter, candles, and a selection of wines?

    Let us know if you find a good source . . .

  5. Bloomberg was an idiot and laughed out of NYC for his nanny drink laws. His Dr. Big Gulp is now running the CDC. He’s an idiot as well. “Live Free or Die.”

  6. I strongly disagree. Calories is a very well defined and scientific unit of measure (albeit not an SI unit). “miles run” is not well defined since this would vary by weight, speed, gender, ect.

  7. Dang, lost comment again. Well I’m off to work for the evening. I hope you all eat some delicious food today. I know I will.

  8. Thanks JT – I don’t see the comment, however. I tried to submit the second one twice, and it was the same thing so WP caught me on a duplicate post. The second one is:

    DANG. A larger style reply eaten. Compressing now and not nearly as smooth:

    Real Food – What To Eat And Why by Nina Planck – excellent book which motivated me to find a 100% grass fed and animal pastured farm for raw milk, beef, pork, chicken, goat, cheese, ice cream, etc. Best bacon ever, eat it every day.

    Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
    Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes

    These two books present the case against carbs. They are compelling arguments. Why We Get Fat is much easier to read than GCBC. GCBC goes into more technical stuff, WWGF is for everyone.

    Grain Brain by David Perlmutter

    Also making the case against not only carbs, but most of our dietary staple grains. He goes into DNA factors as well, and has good information of the benefits of fasting, exercise and ketones/ketosis.

    Real Food is the least extreme and most accessible of all these books, I highly recommend for anyone interested in a healthy diet. The other books are more on the extreme end of the spectrum, but are fascinating and informative as well.

    Food for thought…

  9. Related to labeling is something I just read about the other day called “NNT”, or number to treat. Here is an excerpt and a link:

    Instead of being a number, Carpenter might have preferred to see a number, one that can help us weigh the benefits (or lack thereof) of a treatment. That number exists, and it’s called the number needed to treat. Developed by a trio of epidemiologists back in the ’80s, the NNT describes how many people would need to take a drug for one person to benefit. (The NNT for antibiotics in a case of acute bronchitis is effectively infinity, because the medicine is no better at curing the illness than a placebo.)

    Consider a couple other examples: If your kid is throwing up and you take her to the hospital, she might get a drug called Zofran. The NNT for that is 5, meaning that only five kids need to take Zofran for one of them to stop throwing up. And if you look at Zofran’s “number needed to harm” (the number of people who would need to take a drug for one to have a bad side effect) the answer is … well, there really isn’t one—no one has a significant side effect.

    Now, say you’re pushing 50. You’re healthy, but your doctor suggests you start taking a baby aspirin. Just in case, you know? That NNT is 2,000. That’s how many people have to take a daily aspirin for one (nonfatal) heart attack to be prevented. Statistically speaking: Not especially helpful.


    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  10. I foresee a day when Big Sugar will be treated like Big Tobacco. The health effects are becoming widely known and they are not good. This labeling is a step towards sanity. We need to demand more from food producers than cheap, abundant and prettily packaged. A lot of us laughed at NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he proposed downsizing sugary drinks. He may have been on the top of this rising tide.

  11. Hi Professor Turley/moderator,

    If you see this comment and have time- I think WP ate two comments of mine here. If they are both stuck in the filter, the first one was the good one. The second one can be deleted if you can release the first one.

    Thank you,


  12. It’s a very simple formula: CaloriesOut > CaloriesIn = WeightLoss; CaloriesIn > CaloriesOut = WeightGain.

  13. @ Paul

    I’m not diabetic, but since I am the cook and don’t want to make two separate meals I eat the same diabetic meals that my husband needs. They are very good. Lots of vegetables, some carbs, protein. Filling and balanced. Very tasty.

    And we do occasionally cheat. For instance I just received 5 pounds of fresh blueberries. They were given to me by one of the workers at our local school where the fruit was going to be thrown out. The kids won’t eat them because they are not allowed to sweeten the berries or prepare them other than just plopping them down on the tray. They had over 40 pounds of blueberries that were going to go into the trash and she just couldn’t do it…..so she whisked them out of the kitchen and took them home to give to people who would use them

    Blueberry cobbler for dessert tonight and then I’m freezing the rest of the berries to toss into the morning oatmeal.

    All this labeling of food and trying to force people into a one size fits all diet is just a waste of the governments time and is annoying to the public.

    1. DBQ – my wife is the cook so I get what is delivered on my plate. However, she does cook two meals. She can eat chicken 8 days a week. I cannot and put my foot down at that. We got some blueberries the other day and added it to our morning oatmeal. Perked the taste up. 😉

  14. DBQ, Studies show, and common sense says, you cannot feel like you are depriving yourself. Depriving, like these stupid paleo diets and the like, make both your mind and body feel deprived. That negative feeling builds resentment. And resentment is lethal. Resentment is hating a person but instead of slipping them poison, you drink it yourself. Balance is the key to life and our culture has lost all sense of balance in so many ways. You have to love yourself, which means doing exactly what you and your husband do. I have a joke about fettuccine alfredo. I say, “Hell, it only takes a few days off your life and those come @ the end, when you’re drooling and incontinent.”

    Another trick I’ve learned is too always have good food I love, like fruit, many vegetables, etc. on hand. And, eat those whenever you want. Next, if it’s sinful and I can take it or leave it, the aforementioned fettuccine and gravy come to mind, I simply don’t eat gravy, ever. I save the sinful for what I love, like PORK!!

    1. Nick – my wife has me on a diet and it has been successful. However, she is not on the same diet. Funny thing about that.

  15. “I don’t think they should make all restaurants do this, though. If a diner had to calculate how many miles to run to burn off that slice of apple pie, they might throw up their hands.”

    We eat a basically diabetic diet and have been more vigilant as of late. As a result the pounds are just falling off of my husband and me.

    However, when we go out to a restaurant, all bets are off. I’m there to enjoy myself and generally eat items that I don’t normally cook at home.

    I look at the menu and perversely pick the highest calorie item that sounds good to me. It is a sort of small rebellion. “You can’t tell me what to eat! Ooooh. 1600 calories! and look at all that fat!!! Give me the fettuccine alfredo!”

  16. Karen, thanks for the heads up.

    I just canceled my U.S. MRE order and went with the French RCIR MRE instead.

  17. Ken, do they still call MREs s^&&*t on a shingle? Or, wait, was that the sloppy Joe’s they inflict on the men and women in service? The last time I tried MREs was years ago when I got them for backpacking. It was all kind of like a paste – stews and some sort of blueberry crumble stand out.

    We really don’t appreciate our soldiers enough. The culinary sacrifices they make alone should earn them a special thank you.

  18. Karen, The nanny state and it’s ugly cousin, PC, must be fought and stopped by any means necessary.

Comments are closed.