People Order Less Food When They Know How Much Exercise It'll Take To Burn Off
Researchers at Texas Christian University have found that study participants given food menus displaying the amount a person would need to exercise in order to work off food eaten will eat less. The study was conducted by graduate student Ashlei James, which were published this month in the FASEB journal.
The logic behind the study is pretty sound. If people know exactly how much they are eating, they will eat less. During the study, 300 participants were split into three groups with each group given menus offering the same food choices. The first group was given menus without calorie or exercise labels, the second group was given calories, and the third group was given the amount of “brisk walking” needed to burn off the calories in the food. While offering no information and calorie information mean that people still ate whatever they wanted, adding the exercise component made significant changes.
According to Helping You Care, the first group ordered, on average, a whopping 902 calories. The exercise menu group only ordered 770 calories. Brisk walking was used as the exercise marker, rather than tougher cardio like running, so that anyone in the study could relate. Apparently, adding this extra step, this extra little niggling thought that will reverberate through people's brains as they eat, is enough to deter them from ordering quite as much food.
Plenty of menus across the country have incorporated the second group, menus with calories. Personally, these do little but keep me from enjoying the actual process of dining out. A memorable eating experience at Dave and Busters got me so flustered about calories, I ended up only eating a counterproductive side of French fries. Perhaps exercise-oriented menus will be the wave of the future, and could even help those with weight loss plans to stay on track, but that will likely only happen if it doesn’t deter the dining experience too much.
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