After my KFC Double Down post earlier this week, one commenter said she would love to try the “sandwich” and that it was “nothing 35 hours of cardio won’t fix.” This gave me a great idea for a post – let’s call it The Exercise Myth.
One of the main points of the Double Down post was that the widely disseminated means of evaluating our foods is a broken system. Measurements of calories, fat and sodium don’t actually mean anything in terms of whether or not a food is good for you, nutritious or health promoting. One of the consequences of this view point is the exercise myth.
When we deal in calories, we reduce our foods to the idea of nothing more than a number, which makes us think we’re free to manipulate these numbers within an equation. For example, a Double Down is X number of calories, therefore if I eat it, I can burn it off by burning X number of calories working out. Calories in equals calories out and the fast food indulgence is forgotten.
This would all be fine and dandy if our foods were actually reducible to numbers that could be stuck into equations and manipulated on paper. But they’re not. Food is complicated; much more complicated than a simple add and subtract equation can get a handle on. These equations don’t take into account any of the effects the components of our food has – good or bad. It doesn’t address nutrients or lack thereof, dangerous additives and flavorings, phytonutrients, antioxidant potential, what kinds of fats are present, whether or not it’s a complete protein, etc.
By eating the Double Down, the effects of MSG, trans fats and all the chemical flavorings and preservatives, not to mention what sort of stuff was fed to the chicken and pigs that ends up in your body, will not be dealt with by exercise no matter how much of it you do. This is a myth, and a dangerous one at that. Even if you could go 35 hours on the treadmill, this wouldn’t ever address trans fat consumption, for instance, because trans fats don’t get burned for energy by the cells. The ingredients in fast foods and processed foods have very real detrimental effects on the body that I’ve written about extensively over the years.
I know this kind of spoils the party. People will probably be upset by the idea that their indulgences can’t be conveniently erased by penance served on the stair climber. As I said to the Facebook commenter “eat this monstrosity at your own risk, but don’t kid yourself that you can nullify the consequences by working out.” Even if you can keep the spare tire in check by working out, you’re not cheating death, disease or any other physiological consequences taking in toxic foods. Eat at your own risk.
The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto. Doug specializes in private in-home holistic cooking lessons.