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Researchers at Texas Christian University have found that displaying the amount of time it would take to burn off calories on fast food menus affected what people ordered.
Many restaurants currently display calorie information on their menus, which is actually the law for retail food chains with twenty or more locations nationwide. Yet it’s been shown that this does not translate to fewer calories being ordered or consumed.
The TCU study had 300 men and women aged 18 to 30 purchase food from one of three fast food menus, all of which contained the same food choices.
One set of menus had no labels, a second set displayed the total calories for each food item and a third was labeled with how many minutes of brisk walking it would take to burn off the calories.
Results showed that people who ordered from the menus labeled with calorie burn times ordered on average 139 fewer calories and consumed 97 fewer calories than those who ordered off the menu without labels.
The difference in calories doesn’t seem like a huge amount, but senior researcher Meena Shah explains “a 100-calorie reduction on a daily basis could lead to some weight loss over the long term.” She goes on to explain, “We need a more effective strategy to encourage people to order and consume fewer calories from restaurant menus.”
If you knew it would take approximately 2 hours to burn that double cheeseburger, you might think twice about ordering it.