Tuesday, April 15, 2008

To Burn Off Big Mac Meal, Walk This Far

Enjoying a McDonald's Big Mac meal--that would be the Big Mac, french fries and a milkshake--every once in a while won't make you fat, right? Not if you walk off those extra calories.

Nutritionists in Great Britain helpfully computed just how far you have to walk to shake off the 1,411 calories from that Big Mac lunch: 9.5 miles.

London's Sun newspaper reports that even the McDonald's salads require a 2.5 mile walk to ward off the extra calories, thanks to the fatty salad dressings that can have more calories than the burgers.

So it doesn't just pick on McDonald's, the Sun compiled a list of several favorite fast food items and how many miles you have to walk to get rid of the extra calories:

  • Meat pizza: 930 calories requires a 6.2 mile walk
  • KFC meal: 910 calories requires a 6.06 mile walk
  • Apple: 45 calories requires a 0.3 mile walk
  • Stick of celery: 2 calories requires a 0.013 mile walk

If you eat at McDonald's or KFC or Burger King regularly, you are more likely to gain weight and become obese--unless you do that 10 mile walk after each meal. Why? British researchers from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have put forth what they call a "probable" explanation: Fast food not only contains many more calories than traditional food, but also is more likely to undermine normal appetite control systems, reports The London Times.

The hidden reason fast food makes us fat: It has a very high energy density--about 65 percent higher than a typical diet and twice as high as recommended healthy diets--which makes us eat more than we otherwise would. Energy density refers to the amount of calories an item of food contains in relation to its weight. Foods with a high energy density confuse the brain's control systems for appetite, which are based solely on portion size.

Eat a Big Mac and fries and you'll consume almost twice as many calories as you would if you ate the same weight of pasta and salad. "Fast food restaurants are feeding the obesity epidemic by tricking people into eating many more calories than they mean to," writes Times science correspondent Mark Henderson.


From the editors at Netscape
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