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According to this site, one needs about 1 hour and 5 minutes to burn off the weight gain from a Big Mac.

However, I've eaten about two Big Macs a night, with two similar sized meals during the day. All without jogging for hours, and yet I've never been overweight. Is this a miscalculation or some poor assumptions of how calories are translated into fat?

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    Such generalizations are generally not helpful. There are various empirical formulae to calculate energy expenditure. The only sure thing in your calculation is the calorie count of the Big Mac. Your weight, your height and how active you are throughout any given week count in. Even if you stayed in bed all day long you would burn calories. You'd be amazed by the "weight loss" from evening to morning (I have seen more than 3 kg!). It's proof mostly to the fact that your body burns calories. The loss itself is likely mostly water - overnight at least. – 0xC0000022L Mar 2 '13 at 2:11
  • So what I am saying - and intentionally not as an answer - your question is a poor one. The problem being that in my case I know that one hour of jogging will burn at least approx. Big Macs off whereas it's anyones guess what the numbers look for you. – 0xC0000022L Mar 2 '13 at 2:13
  • Have you eaten two Big Macs per night every night of your life? If you have done it once it is largely irrelevant... – nico Mar 2 '13 at 6:45
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    One hour of jogging is about 800 kcal, a big mac is around 500 kcal. One hour of doing nothing is around 100 kcal. As you can see, you can easily offset one big mac with five hours of rest... – Sklivvz Mar 2 '13 at 14:17
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There are basically 2 parts to this:

How Many Calories Are In a Big Mac®?

The number of calories in a Big Mac® varies by country, but the figure given of 540 calories is accurate for a US Big Mac®.

How Many Calories Does Running Burn?

The number of calories burnt per minute when running depends on how much you weigh and how fast you run. The following table (found on Runner's World, data taken from Compendium of Physical Activities, January 1993 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise) gives the number of calories burnt per 10 minutes of running.

calories burnt per 10 minutes of running

There's no precise definition for jogging, but it's usually taken to mean running slowly, so I'm going to take numbers from the 12 min/mile column.

The average weight for a woman in the US is 74.7 kg (164.7 lb), so that gives a figure of around 97 calories per 10 minutes of jogging.

Putting these 2 answers together, I'd estimate that it would take around 55 minutes of jogging to burn off the calories in a Big Mac®. This is fairly close to the figure of 1 hour 5 minutes given in the article.

This figure will vary considerably depending on your weight and how fast you run.

Is This Type Of Information Useful?

Providing Calorie Information on Fast-Food Restaurant Menu Boards: Consumer Views

The above study compared different approaches to nutritional labelling of fast food. It found:

When asked to compare a menu that provided calorie information for each menu item with a menu that provided the number of minutes of running that would be required to burn the calories contained in each menu item, 71.0% of participants preferred the calorie information over the physical activity information.

Many of those who preferred calorie information viewed the physical activity information as discouraging, a scare tactic, or not generalizable to everyone.

  • Good references, thanks. I was a little skeptical that an hour's jog does so little, but put it that way, and combined with the calorie burn of doing nothing and it makes sense. – Muz Mar 4 '13 at 3:26

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