The Kitchen Think: Exercise vs. Calorie Counts on Menus


Go ahead, order the Quarter Pound Double Cheese Burger. But bear in mind, you’ll have to walk briskly for about 2 hours to burn off all those calories it contains.

If restaurant menus listed the amount of exercise needed to work off each dish, would you make smarter choices? A new study says you would.

Guess what? Diners who ordered from menus that listed the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories of what they ordered, started ordering smaller, healthier meals.

What’s even more interesting is that diners whose menus only listed the calorie count (or no information at all) wound up eating the same number of calories they would have without the calorie count. In other words, knowing simply how many calories a dish has, makes no difference—most of us would still order it! I want what I want when I want it!

A lot of restaurants, particularly chains, are listing calories on their menus now… which is a smart move. My fear is that we’ll get numb to the numbers… and go on overeating.

But believe me, Mama would pay attention if the menu said I’d have to walk three hours to burn off one piece of deep dish pizza.

Wouldn’t you?

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: