Health tips around "food holidays" like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving often revolve around watching your calories, but do people truly know how many they are consuming from their favorite foods -- and more importantly, how much exercise it would take to burn the calories off?
The "Diet Detective"
Dr. Charles Platkin doesn't think so. That's why instead of just tossing out a number like "300 calories," he goes one step further. Platkin reviews data and painstakingly analyzes tape of exercise to determine once and for all and easy-to-understand guide of what exercises are required to burn off your favorite foods this barbecue season. Would you grab that extra hot dog if you knew you'd have to swim for more than a half hour to burn it off?
With Dr. Platkin's help, here are the exercises you'd need to burn off your favorite barbecue foods...
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Barbecue spare ribs
To burn off the calories obtained by eating five medium spare ribs, Platkin, who is also a distinguished professor at the Hunter College School of Urban Public Health in New York City, calculates you will need to ride a bike for 92.5 minutes, maintaining a speed of about 10 to 12 miles per hour.
And that's not even a half rack...
Cheeseburger with all the fixings
A staple at any barbecue, burgers can pack a lot of calories -- especially when its topped with all the trimmings: Cheese, bacon, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. Platkin found that a 6-ounce burger with a bun and all the toppings adds up to 700 calories. To burn this off, pick up a racquet -- because you'll need a marathon badminton session lasting nearly 133 nonstop minutes to shed off that burger.
Turkey burger with bun
A healthier alternative to beef, a 6-ounce turkey burger contains 180 calories, while the bun contains 120 calories. To burn off the turkey burger, Platkin says you'd need to devote over 85 minutes to a favorite summertime activity, miniature golf.
One little drumstick with barbecue sauce might not seem like a lot of food, but it packs about 242 calories, according to Platkin. To burn that off? You'd need to swim more than 34 minutes -- but you don't have to take laps.
BBQ chicken breast
One chicken breast slathered in barbecue sauce comes in at more than 250 calories. Luckily, it's the summer, so you can head over to the lake and canoe off the calories, Platkin points out. Your arms might hurt though, because you'd need to canoe for nearly 62 minutes to burn off the chicken breast.
Veggie burger with bun
Just because they don't contain meat doesn't mean veggie burgers don't contain calories. Platkin says to burn the burger off you only need about 29 minutes -- of playing full-speed tennis. Got your racquet handy?
Pesto pasta salad
One cup of pasta salad contain more calories than two turkey burgers, according to Platkin, which means they could take a lot of work to burn off. Since it's summer, you can hop in the pool and practice your water aerobics. But to burn off those 680 calories, you'll need to engage in the aquatic calisthenics for a whopping 145 minutes. Hope you brought your goggles.
A barbecue side dish staple, a serving of coleslaw can sometimes contain more calories than your main course. The good news, says Platkin, is you can burn off the added calories with chores, such as mowing the lawn. Alas, you'd need to walk that mower (not a riding mower, obviously) for almost an hour to shed that serving of coleslaw.
A combo of potatoes, eggs and mayonnaise could add up in calories. Since you're already at a barbecue, Platkin recommends you take the helm of the grill for awhile. In fact, the Diet Detective calculated that you would need to grill for almost 111 minutes just to burn off the calories gained from eating one cup of potato salad.
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Baked beans (homemade)
Baked beans can enhance any campfire or barbecue, but at a cost of nearly 400 calories for just one cup. To lose these calories, you can try golfing for more than 74 minutes, Platkin calculated. But, he added that's with walking and carrying the clubs yourself.
Chili dog with bun
What is a barbecue without hot dogs? One with fewer calories and saturated fats. A 2-ounce, all beef hot dog contains 150 calories, and a bun contains another 120 calories. But we like our condiments, so add on some sweet relish (30 calories), mustard (6 calories) and chili (60 calories) and all of a sudden we're over 350 calories.
What to do? You can go golfing for about 89 minutes, Platkin calculated, and luckily you can use a cart.
Can two handfuls of potato chips really contain the same amount of calories as a hot dog and bun? Platkin said to burn off those chips, you can attempt a tried and true calorie burner: Jumping rope. But, would you be as likely to reach for those chips if you knew you'd have to Double Dutch for 32 straight minutes?
Grilled sweet potato
A grilled sweet potato, sans butter, contains more than 100 calories. A piece of cake to burn off if you're near a beach, says Platkin. Just head to the beach volleyball court for a 12-minute game and you'll burn that potato off before you know it.
Corn on the cob
One ear of grilled sweet corn, a delicious summertime vegetable, contains about 90 calories, Platkin calculates. Just run down to the river and grab a kayak, and paddle for a little over 15 minutes and those calories will come off.
Barbecues often have beer, and beers often are loaded with calories. Once you sober up, head down to the water and hop in a sailboat. Platkin calculated that sailing for about 85 straight minutes could cause those calories to come right off.
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Perhaps beer isn't your drink of choice at barbecues, and a more seasonal cocktail like a Pina Colada is your preference. One 8-ounce drink however can contain more than 400 calories, according to Platkin. That could require some serious exercise, like water skiing, and Platkin calculates you'd only need to hit the waves for 62 minutes to shed that cocktail.
What's more refreshing on a hot summer day (besides water)? But, one glass of lemonade approaches 100 calories. Platkin says you'd need to body surf for more than 28 minutes to burn off just one refreshing -- albeit sugary -- glass.
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Yes, even watermelon packs on calories. Only 15 minutes of hopscotch can burn off one slice though, according to Platkin's calculations, so feel free to skip the calories away.
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