It’s not too surprising to learn that U.S. meal sizes have ballooned in the past several decades—anyone who has attempted to finish a meal recently at TGI Friday’s knows that. But have you ever actually seen the differences laid out in front of you? Yesterday, while reading a paper about gender differences in heart disease, I stumbled across a table derived from National Heart Lung and Blood Institute data that compared, side-by-side, just how much more calorie-laden a variety of common American meals are today compared to 20 years ago. Here is the table, which comes from Cheryl Hermann’s paper, “Raising Awareness of Women and Heart Disease—Women’s Hearts are Different,” published in 2008 in Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America. Amazing (and disturbing), right?
|Food||Increase in calories in the last 20 years||Amount of exercise to burn off the extra calories|
|Bagel||210||50 minutes of raking leaves (130-lb person)|
|Cheeseburger||257||1.5 hours of lifting weights (130-lb person)|
|French fries||400||1.3 hours of walking (160-lb person)|
|Soda||165||35 minutes of garden work (160-lb person)|
|Spaghetti and meatballs||525||2 hours & 25 minutes of housecleaning (130-lb person)|
|Turkey sandwich||500||1 hour and 25 minutes of biking (160-lb person)|
|Coffee||305||1.3 hours of walking (130-lb person)|
|Caesar salad||400||1.3 hours of walking (160-lb person)|
|Popcorn||360||1.25 hours of water aerobics (160-lb person)|
|Chicken stir fry||460||1.1 hours of aerobic dancing (130-lb person)|
Herrmann C (2008). Raising awareness of women and heart disease–women’s hearts are different. Critical care nursing clinics of North America, 20 (3), 251-63 PMID: 18644507
The America’s ever-expanding meal portions by Body Politic, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.