It would take four hours on the StairMaster to burn off the calories embodied by the 24-ounce Oh Fudge! shake from Cold Stone Creamery, according to the latest installment of the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Food Porn series.
Four hours for a $5.50, 1,920-calorie snack. (Or, if you favor a light workout in the pool, it would take seven hours of water aerobics, the center helpfully points out. Can you imagine how wrinkly your skin would be after that?)
"If you really need an Oh Fudge! shake, find a Cold Stone Creamery thats 10 miles away from you, walk there, and then drink it on your 10-mile walk back," said CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley. "Even if calories are of no concern to you, the large Oh Fudge! shake has 69 grams of saturated fat the kind of fat that clogs arteries and causes heart attacks. Its like slurping up two pounds of T-bone steak and a buttered baked potato through a straw."
Moderation is key, right? Well, maybe not, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Even the small and medium sized Oh Fudge! shakes "dwarf the bigger burgers at most fast food chains," offering 25% to 66% more calories than the 1,000-calorie Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese.
A better rule of thumb: Cut down on packaged, processed foods and eat real foods -- stuff you grandmother would recognize. The more processing a food has gone through, the more likely it is to contain extra fat, sodium, additives and other ingredients that aren't exactly healthy -- and the more likely it is to have a big environmental footprint. The shake CSPI highlights is only one example of a food system filled with unhealthy overly processed items that take a lot of energy to produce and ship. Buying real produce from local farms, such as the farmers markets that will be opening in many communities this month, is a good way to start re-connecting with food that is not only nutritious but surprisingly delicious. How about a juicy fresh-picked strawberry (even dipped in fair trade or organic chocolate -- why not?)? It's as delicious as that shake, has a smaller environmental footprint and will set you back less at the gym.
Other Food Porn that the center has highlighted include:
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.