Is that cupcake really worth an hour of running?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

In his book, "The Tipping Point," Malcom Gladwell contended that small changes can make a big change in society. Cleaning up graffiti helped New York lower crime rates, he claimed, by reducing the chaotic atmosphere that seems to tolerate crime.

When a few Manhattan hipsters began wearing them, the Hush Puppies brand was revived, strictly by word-of-mouth. A college was able to boost visits to its campus clinic exponentially, simply by including a map on a brochure.

British researchers hope to have found a tipping point when it comes to food labels.

There's already a plethora of nutritional information on food labels, but the Royal Society for Public Health thinks they need one more thing.

How much exercise would it take to burn off the calories included in the food?

Using simple pictures and numbers, you would know that it would take 15 minutes of running to use up the 138 calories in a sugary soda.

Two slices of pizza? That will be one hour of working out, thank you.

Website www.takepart.com offers some equivalents between food and exercise:

* A 20-oz. regular Coke requires 55 minutes of walking.

* 15 Lay's potato chips takes 12 minutes of jumping rope to burn off.

* McDonald's McRib, two hours of running.

* A slice of pepperoni pizza, 30-minute bike ride.

* Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut, 26 minutes of mowing the lawn with a push mower.

* 20 oz. Gatorade, 20-minutes of basketball.

* Bowl of Cheerios, 35-minute stroll.

* Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, 40-minute swim.

* Sprinkles red velvet cupcake, one-hour run.

Not everyone agrees that using pictures would be a good idea, however, saying people who exercise just get hungrier. Instead, this group says, the focus should be on eating healthier foods that keep you full longer.

It's impossible to get most people to exercise more than 20 or 30 minutes a day, whatever the food labels say.

But supporters note numbers on the current labels are meaningless to most people.

And, small changes over a long time can make a big difference. A 50-calorie reduction over a year can add up to several pounds lost.

Picking a smaller bar of chocolate or eating a banana instead of a doughnut my just be the tipping point that leads to better health.

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