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Study: Post Physical Activity Requirements on Restaurant Menus

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:12 PM CDT

A new study out this week suggests that knowing the number of calories in your meal isn't enough to steer you toward healthier choices, but knowing the amount of time in the gym that it would take to burn off those calories just might. Researchers at Texas Christian University asked 300 young adults to purchase food from one of three fast food menus. All of the menus contained the same options, including burgers, chicken tenders, salad, French fries and desserts. One group's menu just had the food items listed, the second included the total calories in each item and the third menu was labeled with the number of minutes of brisk walking it would take someone to burn off the calories in the meal.


The results: On average people who ordered off the activity-labeled menu ordered 139 fewer calories and consumed 97 fewer calories than those who ordered off the menu without labels. And here's the interesting part: The number of calories of food was about the same for the plain menu and the menu that included the number of calories. So just maybe if consumers are aware of the number of minutes they'd have to exercise to work off the calories they are eating, they are more likely to order lower-calorie options.


This is just one study, so it needs to be verified with other studies with more diverse groups. But a 100 calorie reduction per meal could lead to some weight loss in the long term.


By Fred Cantu

Study: Post Physical Activity Requirements on Restaurant Menus


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