Yum, yum! Dinner is done but can you burn all those calories consumed?
BBC documentary Horizon: The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories sees presenter Fred Sirieix – the normally charming host of Come Dine With Me – invite 20 diners to eat a meal in his new restaurant. Free food? Forks up! Unbeknown to the diners, though, there’s still a price to pay… but not by them.
A secret team is stationed behind the scenes at an on-site gym. While the diners feast, they will sweat and slave in an attempt to burn off the calories consumed in every single forkful of those meals – under the guidance of Dr Zoe Williams. Yikes!
The premise of the show is based on science that suggests when we see just how much exercise is required to burn off what we eat, we consume up to 20 percent less.
A BBC spokesperson explains, “The intention of the programme is to give viewers information about the latest research into the science of calories, about why our bodies need them and how our bodies use them. In particular, it looks at recent studies by academics in both the US and the UK, which suggest that diners may make healthier choices when presented with information about how much activity is required to burn off the calorie content of dishes. The voiceover is clear throughout that there are government guidelines for the recommended number of calories needed for the average man or woman to remain healthy (2,500 for men and 2,000 for women). The programme never endorses or suggests restricting calories below these levels.”
If the diners knew how many minutes of exercise their menu choice would take to burn off, would they order differently? Dr Zoe Williams goes in-depth into the question and speaks to various scientists and top-tier food nutritionists who add input about the subject at hand. Their valuable contribution is the real take-away from the show, adding knowledge about fat processes, microbiome influences and metabolic science.
In the end, Fred and Dr Zoe emphasise that you really can’t outrun your fork – which is to say that should you wish to maintain or reach a healthy weight, that needs to start with a healthy diet in line with your body’s physical requirements. As an extremely rough illustration of this: