A study found that people eat less when the fast food menu tells them how many miles they'll have to walk to burn off the calories. While just having a calorie count next to each item or the walking time needed led to a little reduction, the biggest change came when they learned how far they would need to walk.
Dare I take credit for inspiring this study with my various holiday walking calculators that tell you how far you have to walk to walk off the foods common for each celebration? See the Christmas Holiday Calorie Calculator. The researchers probably came up with this on their own, but my calculators have been popular for many years. It is eye-opening and might help you reign in your appetite, especially when exercise isn't as appealing during the holidays. Better not to eat what you don't really crave than have to burn it off.
The study participants ordered an average meal of 1020 calories if they had no calorie information, which is over half of the calories a woman needs per day and would take over 10 miles to burn off. They ate 100 calories less if they were told how many minutes they would need to walk, and almost 200 calories less if told how far they would need to walk.
Walking Calorie Calculator
Open your own eyes to what you are eating by using the free food diary and phone app at our sister site, Calorie Count. I used it faithfully this year to lose over 40 pounds.
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner
Dowray S, Swartz JJ, Braxton D, Viera AJ. "Potential effect of physical activity based menu labels on the calorie content of selected fast food meals." Appetite. 2012 Dec 7. pii: S0195-6663(12)00465-5. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.11.013. [Epub ahead of print]