The average person will consume 10,000 chocolate bars in a lifetime.
March 5, 2008 10:14 AM   Subscribe

11 hours, 29 minutes... That's how long you'd have to play your instrument, if you were a 180lb musician, to work off the calories in a 12-inch Pizza Hut Super Supreme Pizza, (Regular Crust). Foodsel offers a wealth of information about the foods we eat, organized by group, manufacturer or nutrient, with visuals about the exercise needed to work off the calories, and the amount of fat and energy in 7500 different foods.

For example, a McDonald's Big Mac has the energy equivalent of 20.3 batteries, and the fat comparable to a third of a stick of butter. and it will take you 1 hour and 7 minutes of exercising at the gym to work off the indulgence of just one.
posted by Dave Faris (52 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's not a very useful list of activities. I can't find "sitting at the computer and screwing around on MetaFilter" anywhere.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:20 AM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


But only 9 hours and 14 minutes if you are 225 lbs. See? It pays to be fat!

Pretty neat site. Doesn't list avocado.
posted by DU at 10:20 AM on March 5, 2008


For example, a McDonald's Big Mac has the energy equivalent of 20.3 batteries,
but it doesn't taste as good! Ha! I'll be here sadly this is true all week.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:21 AM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rock climbing for 2 and a half hours burns an entire pizza?
posted by tylermoody at 10:22 AM on March 5, 2008


"Play your instrument"? Is that what they're calling it now?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:26 AM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


All that time to burn off a pizza. But how many calories do you need to stay alive?
posted by tomas316 at 10:29 AM on March 5, 2008


For example, a McDonald's Big Mac has the energy equivalent of 20.3 batteries,
but it doesn't taste as good!


What if it's a 9-volt battery?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:31 AM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's one of my favorite parts about going hiking in the summer. A good length hike with significant elevation gain burns so many calories that when you get done, you can pretty much eat whatever you want afterwards.
posted by evilangela at 10:39 AM on March 5, 2008


Rock climbing for 2 and a half hours burns an entire pizza?

And occasionally turns climbers into pizza.
posted by bondcliff at 10:41 AM on March 5, 2008


Air guitar is not listed. Please advise.
posted by Tehanu at 10:48 AM on March 5, 2008


You know, if they listed sex and/or masturbation on these activity lists, we'd be a lot healthier country.

"Honey, I had a Ladies' Brunch Burger for lunch. Looks like we have 4.8 hours of sex in front of us."

"You mean you have 4.9 hours of wanking in front of you--I had a salad."
posted by maxwelton at 10:55 AM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is super neat. Now, where is the site that sells some variety of power converters so I can run a vibrator on fast food?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:00 AM on March 5, 2008


Weirdly enough, this page was fairly encouraging.

I hike around 1.5 hours almost every day, year round, on a trail with close to a 1,000 ft elevation gain. Usually eat ok but sometimes I love to binge and then would stress about the binge afterwards.

Apparently, the binge isn't really anything to worry about, assuming this site is correct.
posted by pandaharma at 11:23 AM on March 5, 2008


Ah, lovely reductionist nutritionism. Food + sufficient exercise = no net change. Food is so simple when you can boil its effect down to a simple balance of carbs, protein, and fat. If only that simple model of how food works made any sense whatsoever.
posted by gurple at 11:30 AM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, in order to cancel out the calories from consuming an average serving of bacon, I would need to do this: "Scrubbing floors, on hands and knees - 1 hour, 22 minutes" A fair penance. Worshipping bacon, essentially. And then I get bacon and a clean floor.
posted by ninjew at 11:47 AM on March 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Apples, raw, with skin
Bicycling, 12-13.9mph, moderate effort 19 minutes

or

1 Slice PIZZA HUT 12" Super Supreme Pizza, Regular Crust
Bicycling, 12-13.9mph, moderate effort 35 minutes


i think i'll go round the extra 16 mins and take the pizza.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 11:58 AM on March 5, 2008


Second gurple's comment. Food is way more complicated than its component chemistry, and the human body metabolizes food in ways which do not much resemble a laboratory. "Food" != "nutrients".

That being said, it remains true that if you do hard physical labor for eight or ten hours a day you can pretty much eat anything you want without fear of weight gain or most dietary ailments. The downside of this is that lots of hard physical labor leads to other problems, like hernias, ruptured discs, and hip replacements. There ain't no free lunch.
posted by valkyryn at 12:02 PM on March 5, 2008


Ah, lovely reductionist nutritionism. Food + sufficient exercise = no net change. Food is so simple when you can boil its effect down to a simple balance of carbs, protein, and fat. If only that simple model of how food works made any sense whatsoever.

Please elaborate on this. Are you saying that energy in = energy stored+energy out doesn't make any sense whatsoever?
posted by !Jim at 12:05 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seconding the query on overthrowing the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Granted, there are nitty gritties to be observed and/or glossed over. But in the end, the numbers do have to add up.
posted by DU at 12:17 PM on March 5, 2008


The selected serving contains 1891 kilocalories.

Does this mean 1,891,000 calories? Has PizzaHut developed some new space warping technology that make their pizzas bigger on inside than the outside? This brings up questions about the pizza event horizon that I'm not qualified to ask.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:24 PM on March 5, 2008


doctor_negative, the calories we commonly use to talk about food are actually not really calories but kilocalories, sometimes differentiated by using a capital C (as in Calories). See wikipedia.
posted by suedehead at 12:31 PM on March 5, 2008


Playing a trombone or a drum set is a lot different than playing, say, a thumb piano.
posted by Foosnark at 12:32 PM on March 5, 2008


...nevermind, they almost took that into account.
posted by Foosnark at 12:32 PM on March 5, 2008


Even if I have something like a pizza or a burger for one meal I still have a hard time going over the 2500 calories in a day line that you supposedly burn just by being alive. The whole idea of 'burning off' your meals seems misplaced to me. If you 'burnt off' everything you ate you'd drop dead pretty quickly.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:33 PM on March 5, 2008


energy in = energy stored+energy out

No argument there. And, as valkyryn notes above, these kinds of equations might work out fine in terms of weight gain in the short term.

However, let's say you eat a staggering 3,500 calories in a day and they all come from pizza. Then you run on the treadmill for some godawful amount of time and work them all off. Let's say your identical twin does the same thing, but they eat a diet of whole foods including lots of fruits and veggies.

Are the two of you in the same boat after years of this pattern? Not even close. The veggie-lover has been accumulating years' worth of antioxidants and carotenes and who knows what else that seems to be horribly beneficial about veggies. You've been accumulating a lot of Carbon-13 because of all the C13 in your corn-based industrial diet (the C13 isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it was pretty startling to me).

Here's another thing, though. Let's say you build these heavy-pizza-eating habits over many years, working off the pounds with exercise. Now what happens when you tear your ACL and can't do your favorite exercise activity any more? Or you get old, or disabled, or sick for a long time? You're not burning off the calories any more, but you've still got the eating habits of an athlete. Good luck retraining your palate at that stage of life.
posted by gurple at 12:35 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unless I'm grossly mistaken (and I may be), kilocalories are the base measuring unit used. We just call them calories for short, because kilocalories is a bit of a mouthful (pun intended) and fits on fewer Nutritional Value labels.
posted by Reth_Eldirood at 12:37 PM on March 5, 2008


doctor_negative, the calories we commonly use to talk about food...

Sarcasm
posted by doctor_negative at 1:15 PM on March 5, 2008


ninjew: I have bacon and a kitchen floor that could use scrubbing. Deal?
posted by Cranberry at 1:23 PM on March 5, 2008


Summer before last, I spent a week and a half walking the route of the ancient Pilgrim's Way across southern England--146 miles, all told. I ate fairly normally the whole way. By the end, I had lost 0.4kg, or just under a pound.

Exercise is a myth.
posted by Hogshead at 1:44 PM on March 5, 2008


The moral of the story is that exercise really doesn't burn much in the way of calories.

When I gave up the idea that exercise would make me thinner and instead I just cut down on what I ate (counting calories the whole way) and did very moderate exercise just to feel better, I got thin. I lost about 70 pounds that way.

The idea that a burger will take you hours of playing tennis to burn off did nothing for me except convince me that there was no way I was ever going to lose the weight, so why bother? When the Hacker's Diet explained the role of exercise in a good diet plan (it doesn't burn enough to make a difference, but it's worth doing anyway for overall health) I got serious about just not eating the stuff that was making me fat.

The difference between a 44 waist and a 33 is pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.
posted by MrVisible at 2:03 PM on March 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Summer before I last, I spent 9 weeks riding a bicycle from Virginia to Oregon - 4,374 miles, all told. I ate like a maniac - several thousand calories a day. By the end, I had lost about 15 pounds from my already-lean frame.

Exercise is not a myth.
posted by JeffL at 2:04 PM on March 5, 2008


The moral of the story is that exercise really doesn't burn much in the way of calories.

Oh, come on! Doing a leisurely walk around the neighborhood might not do much for you, but I can assure you that running or cycling vigorously will burn calories big-time. I burn around 1600 calories in a couple of hours of cycling (road bike, averaging around 17 mph). During riding season, I eat a huge amount of all types of food, and have trouble keeping weight on.
posted by JeffL at 2:16 PM on March 5, 2008


Yes, extreme amounts of exercise for long periods of time will burn a lot of calories.

My point is that it takes extreme amounts of exercise, for long periods of time.

If you'd told me a year ago that I could get down to my current weight by cycling vigorously for two hours a day every day, I'd have laughed at you. And rightfully so. How long do you think it would have taken me, in my obese state, to get to where that amount of exercise was even possible? And trust me, nobody would have wanted to see me in lycra.

When I found out that I could get down to my current weight by controlling calorie intake and with about twenty minutes of exercise a day, I found that I could easily do that for the time it took to lose the weight. And I did.
posted by MrVisible at 2:36 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, anyone who uses exercise equipment at the gym can vouch that those little computers tell a different story. An hour of heart pounding work on the stair climber or stationary bike does tend to yield a pitifully low number of calories burned. Maybe the fresh air and sunshine is the key.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:39 PM on March 5, 2008


If I get to 300kilos it'll only take me 20min of running to burn off a pizza... seems like a good deal
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:43 PM on March 5, 2008


Hmm. Seems like I should be a lot fatter.
posted by danb at 2:54 PM on March 5, 2008


Yes, extreme amounts of exercise for long periods of time will burn a lot of calories.

I guess I don't consider riding a bike for an hour or two after work (or during my lunch hour) extreme. Lots of people spend a lot more time than that watching TV or goofing off on the internet. I know I used to (and still do to some extent).

How long do you think it would have taken me, in my obese state, to get to where that amount of exercise was even possible?


Based on my experiences (and that of people I know): Not that long, really.

Of course, it's a personal preference: You certainly can lose weight by counting calories, but I'd rather do something I enjoy (cycling in my case) and eat as much as I want.
posted by JeffL at 2:57 PM on March 5, 2008


...those little computers tell a different story

I don't know about the ones at the gym, but the one I use seems pretty accurate (when compared to the figures on the linked site, for example).

Of course, the computer I use knows my age, weight, max heart rate, etc.
posted by JeffL at 3:00 PM on March 5, 2008


The moral of the story is that exercise really doesn't burn much in the way of calories.

This is true, but it shouldn't be shocking. Exercise is for health moreso than weight loss. The calories burned exercising a moderate amount (30 minutes to an hour per day, maybe) probably don't amount to a huge amount of calories. If a person on a 2200 calorie diet walks for 30 minutes, they might burn 150 calories. Clearly, their calorie consumption as a result of merely being alive fair outweighs the calories burned during exercise, but they're still better off for exercising.

However, let's say you eat a staggering 3,500 calories in a day and they all come from pizza. Then you run on the treadmill for some godawful amount of time and work them all off. Let's say your identical twin does the same thing, but they eat a diet of whole foods including lots of fruits and veggies.

The site isn't supposed to be about any of this. The purpose of the site is to link calories consumed to the equivalent amount of exercise. The issue of what provides better nutrition or what is a healthier lifestyle is seperate and unrelated. Food + sufficient exercise = no net change is exactly what I said (using different words), and you didn't argue with it.

DU: energy in = energy stored+energy out is the first law.
posted by !Jim at 3:18 PM on March 5, 2008


"Of course, it's a personal preference: You certainly can lose weight by counting calories, but I'd rather do something I enjoy (cycling in my case) and eat as much as I want."
posted by JeffL at 2:57 PM on March 5 [+] [!]

There you have it. I enjoy goofing around on the internet, reading, writing, painting and playing games with friends, while I consider exercise a wretched waste of time. I'd much rather make a tiny sacrifice of time and effort and food as opposed to taking two hours out of each of my days.

To each their own.
posted by MrVisible at 3:19 PM on March 5, 2008


MrVisible, nice work dropping the weight, especially as one who doesn't like to exercise much. I imagine that one of the hardest parts to losing weight is the perceived amount of time that you have to spend exercising. You can certainly lost the weight more quickly by exercising 2-3 hours a day, but 20 minutes of walking and smart choices in your diet will create the same necessary calorie deficit and shed the pounds in the long term.

I guess I don't consider riding a bike for an hour or two after work (or during my lunch hour) extreme.

But for lots of people, that's a HUGE hurdle, mentally if not physically. Not everyone is you. The "myth" part of exercise is that you are required to do it for x hours/day in order to lose weight. MrVisible's 20-30 minutes will provide a huge benefit, vs. nothing at all.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:46 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


The site isn't supposed to be about any of this. The purpose of the site is to link calories consumed to the equivalent amount of exercise.

That "equivalency" is what I'm disagreeing with. In a framework in which a given meal can in some way be meaningfully equivalent to a number of calories, I have no issue with the site. It's that framework, and its attendant attitude toward food, that I think is wrongheaded and harmful.
posted by gurple at 4:45 PM on March 5, 2008


Vigorous exercise doesn't necessarily burn enough calories to be significant in the "calories in/calories out" school of though, but it has other positive effects. When you exercise, you build muscle, which burns more calories than fat, and is what you want anyway - what the scale says != how healthy your body is. A lean, strong body is the goal, and willl look better and work better. Also, I find when I work out regularly, I want to eat healthier foods. I eat to fuel my activities, rather than just to fill up space, so I eat less sugar and grease.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:59 PM on March 5, 2008


Just to throw in another personal example, I've been losing weight pretty successfully the past few months with pretty much no exercise, by simply monitoring intake. Now, as the weather warms up, and as I find myself about 40 pounds down so far, I'm starting to add exercise to the mix, for general health, to help keep the loss ongoing, to get a bit more muscle, etc, but I'd agree that, at least from personal anecdotal observation, the key to weight loss is watching how much you eat, not in working yourself silly at the gym all day.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:42 PM on March 5, 2008


As to eating healthier foods, and exercising to build muscle to burn fat better...

I don't care.

Not in the slightest. Here's the thing: no junk food in the world, eaten in moderation, will do nearly as much harm to me as being obese did.

And all of the complicated weirdness surrounding dieting was a big part of what kept me from dieting for so long. Calories from fat. Calories from sugar. Roughage. Fiber. Protein. Atkins. South Beach. Whatever. There was no way I was going to alter everything about my life to lose the weight.

Along came the Hacker's Diet, which said 'Screw it.' Don't worry about anything but calories. It doesn't matter where they come from. Take a multivitamin every day, drink lots of water, and watch your calories for as long as it takes to lose the weight.

I ate fast food, and frozen food, and ice cream... because they had the calorie count right there on the box. (Healthy homemade food doesn't, and takes a lot of work to calculate.) And it may not have been the best thing for me, but being that obese was going to kill me a whole hell of a lot faster than any nutritional imbalance could.

These days, I eat what I like, in moderate portions, I still count my calories to make sure I don't start gaining weight back and to acclimate to my new calorie count (and after 1700 a day, 2500 is amazing amounts of food) and I could give a rat's ass about whatever nutritionists think I should be eating.

Losing weight is simple. You don't have to suddenly become a food perfectionist to do it, you don't have to revise your whole way of eating, you don't even have to learn how to cook. Stop making it seem so damnably complex, and more people will lose weight.
posted by MrVisible at 8:35 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


That being said, it remains true that if you do hard physical labor for eight or ten hours a day you can pretty much eat anything you want without fear of weight gain or most dietary ailments.

More like hard physical labor two hours a day.

MrVisible, while complaining that people are making it too complex, seems to be making it complex himself, to my mind.

The body needs good food in moderate quantities, balanced exercise in moderate quantities, and as much sleep as seems necessary.

That's it. Eat garbage, sit around, and you'll get sick and die, at a rate determined to some extent by your genetic advantages and disadvantages. Eat good food, get some exercise, relax and get enough sleep, and you'll look better, feel better, possibly live longer (or at least not be such a wreck when you're old).

It's the simplest thing in the goddamn world, really, and I never cease to be amazed how people fret and yammer over it, and how much many is made by exploiting people's insecurities.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:44 PM on March 5, 2008


How much money, that should be. Doh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:44 PM on March 5, 2008


"The body needs good food in moderate quantities, balanced exercise in moderate quantities, and as much sleep as seems necessary."

stavrosthewonderchicken, please define: good food, moderate quantities, balanced exercise, moderate quantities in this other context, and how much sleep seems necessary.

In order for your advice to be practical to someone who actually needs it, you'd have to define those terms so they become parameters they can work in.

Here was the set of rules I used when losing the weight:

Eat 1500 calories a day. Do a specific set of calisthenics/cardio exercise every day, which took up about 20 minutes. Take a multivitamin.

These days, to maintain my weight at 180, I just change the 1500 to 2500.

Complexificationating things I am not.
posted by MrVisible at 5:56 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


In order for your advice to be practical to someone who actually needs it, you'd have to define those terms so they become parameters they can work in.

I could not disagree more, unless we're talking about people who are too stupid to tie their own shoes without an instructional pamplet. If one doesn't know one's own body well enough, or know what the 'good' means in the phrase 'good food' or understand 'moderation', well, one's fucked in a lot more ways than just being unhealthy, I'd say.

No offense, but I reiterate: eat good food in moderation, exercise in moderation, sleep as much as your body requires, avoid stress. No more edicts, guidelines or rules are required.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:53 PM on March 6, 2008


I'm not sure the idea that all fat people got that way because they're stupid is particularly defensible, but I'm going to enjoy watching stavrosthewonderchicken give it a shot.
posted by MrVisible at 10:22 PM on March 6, 2008


I'm not sure the idea that all fat people got that way because they're stupid is particularly defensible

Nope. And it's not what I said, either. My implication was almost precisely the opposite, in fact.

I'm going to enjoy watching stavrosthewonderchicken give it a shot.

I'm doing just fine, thanks. Have been for decades.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:53 PM on March 9, 2008


Wow, hamburgers equal 17 batteries! Is that good or bad?
posted by sjohnson at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2008


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