Knowing how many minutes of activity we’d need to do to burn off the calories in menu items prompts us to order less food and choose healthier options, according to new research presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in Boston on Tuesday 23rd April.
Researchers at Texas Christian University studied the food choices of 300 men and women aged 18-30 who were randomly assigned one of three menus – one with no added information, one detailing calorie content of the food and another with the minutes of brisk walking needed to burn off the calories. All three menus contained the same options including burgers, chicken sandwiches, salad, chips, and desserts.
Those shown the menu with the activity information ordered 15% fewer calories compared to those given no additional information. What was also interesting was that simply showing the calories in the dishes did not affect the participants’ choices.
The idea is right. By linking calories consumed with calories burned people can manage their calorie balance to manage their weight, but the simple fact remains not everyone burns the same number of calories even if they are doing exactly the same activity. It’s not true that people of same age, gender, weight, and body composition (i.e. the amount of fat and muscle we have) burn the same number of calories during the same activity either. We are all unique and so is our calorie burn.
The researchers chose to use brisk walking as they believe that it’s “something nearly everyone can relate to”, which is perhaps true, but it is likely that we all have our own interpretation of what brisk walking means and the speed we choose to be brisk will definitely affect the number of calories we burn. Of course, walking is not everyone’s activity of choice, so people might want to burn off the calories playing football, going cycling or even doing the housework.
Luckily the Ki System gives you all the information you need to burn off the calories you consume doing whatever activity you choose. What’s more, the data is accurate for you.
Using the sliders under your Calories Burned graph in your Activity Manager you can see exactly how many calories you burn doing different activities. Just move the left-hand slider to the start of the activity period and the right-hand slider to the end.
So, next time you’re trying to decide whether to treat yourself to a take-a-away or a slice of cake you can work out how long you would need to walk, run, cycle, vacuum, or indeed do any activity to burn off the calories, safe in the knowledge that whatever choice you make is right for you.
It’s worth noting that these findings are only preliminary. Whilst they are interesting and could prove important, more research is needed to confirm the results. The researchers themselves acknowledge that the results can’t be generalised to people who were not represented by the participants in this study, so that’s anyone over the age of 30. More research is needed in an older and more diverse group.