What Your Meal's Worth in Treadmill Time

There is no denying some of the tastier foods in life come with a price -- bulging bellies.

Burning off a little mac-and-cheese requires mile pounding the pavement for miles.

“If I ate one cup of macaroni and cheese, I would have to run 4.3 miles to burn it off,” Suzanne Rowen, of Simsbury, said.

Food comes with consequences, and that's something Avon nutritionist, Dr. Judy Siegel, can't stress enough. 

“We eat casually, mindlessly without thinking about how am I going to get rid of this thing?,” Siegel said.  “The body counts every calorie. We all know celery is a freebie and I guess radishes are too, but it stops there." 

That piece of cake with frosting you are pining for can set you back 250 calories. Working that off means 22 minutes of jumping rope or high-impact aerobics.

Perhaps you prefer something salty.

“My problem is, even though almonds are healthy for you, I could eat a pound of almonds in two days and you can't do that,” Sandra Baksys, of West Hartford, said.

Sandra is right. Experts say just a handful of almonds is 200 calories and takes two miles to run it off.

A donut or a corn muffin. Which one would you think would require more time on the treadmill?

“I thought it was the donut until I picked them up and realized the donut doesn't weigh very much and the corn muffin is very heavy. It's only 2.2 miles for the donut and it is more than 5 for the corn muffin,” Siegel said. 

Knowing how much you have to sweat to burn off snack calories helps you look at food in a whole different way. 

A good rule of thumb, Dr. Siegel said, is to look at the nutrition label then divide the calories by 100 to estimate roughly how many miles it would take to get rid of the food.

According to the health Web site, Eat Better America.com, a 150-pound person would have to play tennis for nearly half an hour just to burn off the calories in 2 ounces of pretzels. If a sweet tooth is your weakness, a candy bar will set you back 40 minutes on the exercise bike.

"That's pretty surprising to me,” said Tyler Dew, of Avon.

Jenny Gavrillen would rather pass on the snacks. “ It discourages you. It does because it takes so much for you to even get here." 

But experts continue to say the key is staying disciplined and thinking twice before you take that extra bite. 

To decide how many calories you really need during the day, check the Healthy Me site.

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