SHAFAQNA – Would you make better dietary choices if you knew ahead of time how much work it exercise it would take to work off the calories?
One researcher believes so, and so for the last four years Sara Bleich has been calculating exactly that: How long it will take to exercise away various “treats” that most people think nothing about eating (and knowing full well that they probably shouldn’t).
For example, she suggests to go ahead and drink that soda, if you can handle a 50-minute run later today. The associate professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has outlined the results of her nutrition and exercise link data in the American Journal of Public Health.
James Hamblin, of the Atlantic, says “Some would say that’s a joyless, infantilizing idea. The implication that people can’t understand calorie counts is unduly cynical. Have a Coke and a smile, not a Coke and a guilt-wail. Others would protest on grounds that it’s impossible to make this kind of exercise requirement universal to people of all ages, body sizes and levels of fitness. Everyone burns calories at different rates.”
Still, Bleich took it upon herself to find out not exactly how much exercise it would require to burn off the exact calories found within America’s favorite junk foods, but whether or not knowledge of the exercise would prompt people to make different choices. So she put a sign up next to a soda and juice refrigerator in a Baltimore store.
The sign read: “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?” She also posted similar signs suggesting the same idea and sure enough, researchers found that soda and juice sales fell; and when people did buy them, they bought the smaller sizes.