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. Nick – that is so sad about the bulimic girl. I hope she won the battle.

    The choice on how to eat is up to us, not the government. In many cases, I do appreciate having information (such as GMOs, am I harping yet?), but when the government starts banning salt on the table, as in NY, they are forgetting their mandate and their place.

  2. Tom Nash, Bloomberg’s Dr. Big Gulp was hired by Obama to run the CDC. He’s the little bureaucrat pissing on both legs daily dealing w/ Ebola.

  3. Would be great, and I’d be surprised if it happens. It would only encourage people to buy less food, and that is something the food lobby won’t stand for.

  4. I wonder how people with eating disorders will react, running off the prescribed miles, and then some, for good measure.

    Still, it’s an interesting idea, and a miracle that anything would make teenagers choose healthier foods or smaller portions.

    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.

    Speaking of food labeling, I hope one day soon we have GMOs labelled, to give consumers a choice.

  5. I just ordered a year’s supply of military MRE’s. I’ll test this out on 2000 mile hike on the Appalachian trail.

  6. I would prefer voluntary industry labeling information on the calorie “debit/credit” information. But I guess an Orwellian, or Bloombergian, jurisdiction could compel companies to print that info on labels.
    The DAILY CURRANT wrote about unintended consequences of taking “food intake regulations” too far (see” Mayor Bloomberg refused second slice of pizza”)

  7. Isaac, I lost 50 lbs. over the span of ~5 years, and I’ve kept it off for 10 years. People always ask the secret. I say in a hushed voice, exercise more and eat less. I know this woman who used to pontificate about the paleo diet and how much weight she lost. Well, she stopped talking about it when she obsessively went back to carbs and ballooned up again. Now, we do eat too many carbs, sugars, and processed food in this country. JT just left the mecca of eating right. But, these DRASTIC diets are not the long term solution. Lifestyle change is the ONLY answer. Self discipline, the only discipline worth a damn.

  8. david, You are correct about that. Being a walker, I see too many anorexic women. I always say a little prayer to Saint Mary every time they pass me. It breaks my heart. OCD takes its form in so many ways, this is one of the worst. When I went back to college to get my teaching license I took a graduate course in adolescent psychology. I was doing sub teaching @ a couple high schools to get some experience. I had a 16 year old girl who was bulimic and anorexic. I had to do a case study for this class and chose this girl as my subject. I can get people to open up, that’s my other job as a PI. Her story broke my heart. A sweet, intelligent, tortured kid. She grew up in a bar for all intents and purposes. We have an alcoholic culture in Wi. where bars are the social life for too many people. Her alcoholic parents owned a bar and that’s where she spent her days and evenings, eating bar food and watching people get drunk. Interestingly, this girl had no AODA issues. She was anti drug and alcohol. She was primarily bulimic. She had been rushed to the ER several times for irregular heartbeat. Bulimics have critically low potassium, which is needed for the heart to beat properly. This girl obsessively ate saltines and then threw them up. She said, saltines cam up the easiest for her. When I pray for the eating disorder women I always include this girl. I wonder what ever came of her. I obviously have the means to find out but I don’t want to know. We all have some Sgt. Schultz in us.

  9. It is all about intake. Substitute a meal every other day for something with no more than 200 calories. Cut down on bread. Eat the best cut of meats but no more than four ounces. Make vegetables the main course. Cut down on pasta. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to approach intake all across the board. Exercise keeps you in touch with the body. Light exercise is good cardio and weight lifting burns off toxins. Alternate between cardio and weight lifting, two days on one then two days on the other. Keep things interesting.

  10. A teen is going to do what a teen does. You can make suggestions, but as stated it can lead to eating disorders.

    1. Linda L – at this point I would not believe the government if they said the sky was blue. And I have no reason to believe you.

  11. I would rather we get full disclosure of what is in our food and where it comes from. Pushing for this kind of labeling will only muddle up the serious issues relating to food labeling.

  12. If they put Jane Fonda in her outfit from Barbarella on the labelling, I don’t care what the rest of it says.

    Math is hard, but students have to learn it. I do monitor my caloric intake everyday and do make decisions based on the amount of calories an extra item might be, but not a staple.

  13. I really hope the people responsible for this feel good nonsense aren’t scientists or doctors. Because it’s a flat lie to say a bottle of Coke (as in the linked article) takes 4 miles running to burn off. Unless you’re willing to do the calculations to figure out your burn rate based on oxygen transfer, the average male burns 125-150 calories per mile while running at 6mph. Walking at 3.5 is about 85-90 calories if I remember correctly. So no matter how you do it, 4 miles is just wrong.

    But put that aside. As a 6′ tall male at about 190 lbs, I need 2100 calories a day to maintain my weight and power my body for 24 hours. So I can go to Milwaukee and eat that Kopps burger and fries, if I have cereal for breakfast and chicken breast and veggies for dinner. I understand that scientists believe that most Americans are too stupid to figure this out for themselves, and they’re probably right. But wrapping up ideology in lies and feel good labeling isn’t going to help.

  14. Ken. LOL! I know people who work out on treadmills and calculate what they can eat by the caloric reading on the machine. They are obsessive people. You all know the type, we have some here. That said, it is good to push yourself and then reward yourself. I usually walk 5-8 miles a day here in Wi. More when I’m on the beach in San Diego. But, yesterday I pushed myself to 12 miles. So, I rewarded myself w/ some ice cream. JT is right, there are other factors, being a fitbit guy he knows this stuff. But, if you’re not obsessive and anal, this concept is not bad. However, people will lie to themselves. When you’re diabetic you can’t lie to yourself. That comes naturally to me, I don’t like liars and never lie to anyone including myself. But, many people don’t have self discipline, the only type of discipline really worth a damn.

  15. I’m going with Jane Fonda’s fat-burning Latin dance workout. Then have some Pasta Fagioli and Prosciutto with Cabernet Sauvignon.

    As for the packaging and labeling information, TBT!

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