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Best weight loss tactic: Replace calorie counts with exercise counts

It takes a lot of hustle at the gym to burn off a Big Mac, fries and large Coke. The same holds true for that Hefty bag of movie popcorn and super-size soda. The question some obesity prevention experts are asking, however, is would it make a difference if people knew just how much activity is necessary to burn off sugar-sweetened, fizzy drinks and junk food?

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It takes a lot of hustle at the gym to burn off a Big Mac, fries and large Coke. The same holds true for that Hefty bag of popcorn and super-size soda we scarf down at the movies. 

The question some obesity prevention experts are asking, however, is would it make a difference to our choices if we knew just how much activity is necessary to burn off those sugar-sweetened, fizzy drinks and junk food? Should nutritional labeling include exercise information?

Some health experts (via Marie Claire) are advocating for such a change. Experts believe that reminding people of just how much exercise is required to shake off the weight resulting from consuming high-calorie, high-fat foods may strike a blow against rising rates of obesity. That means a bag of potato chips could come with a warning, i.e, ‘15 chips equals 30 minutes of jogging.’ 

One recent study by obesity prevention researcher Dr. Sara Bleich of Johns Hopkins University in the U.S suggests such a change might be a good idea. Bleich’s study sought to establish whether or not providing exercise-related information with soda made a difference in whether or not kids— in this case low-income black adolescents in Baltimore, Maryland—bought the drinks. 

To test their theory Bleich and other researchers posted signs around four local corner stores. The signs displayed caloric information as well as exercise-related information about the sugary drinks. 

While the study revealed that signs displaying basic caloric information were effective deterrents to consumption, the study also found that the combination of calorie information and exercise information was even more effective. In fact, it caused sales at the stores to drop off by nearly half.