It’s no secret that Americans love their fast food. And it’s also no secret that very few of us think about what it’s doing to our bodies—a staggering 69 percent of the population is obese or overweight, after all.
With that in mind, Lenard Lesser, Assistant Research Physician and Family Doctor at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), set out to help Americans compare menu items and show them how much work it takes to burn them off. To bring his vision to life, he enlisted a team of nutritionists and techies to create Grellin.org, a website that uses various data points, including nutrients and estimated fruits and vegetable servings, to determine whether or not a restaurant is “healthy.” The site also rates individual meals so users can learn how long they’d have to walk to burn off their favorite burgers and milkshakes.
In theory, we love the idea. But we’ll admit that some of the calculations left us a little miffed. For example, a Chipotle steak bowl, which they deem a healthy dish, requires 3.1 hours of walking to erase. However, Dairy Queen’s DQ Ultimate Burger, which they list as “unhealthy,” takes 3.65 to walk off, just slightly longer than its “healthy” counterpart. It’s also unclear how the site determines the number of hours it takes to burn off each dish, especially since the data isn’t calculated based on a user’s weight (which it ideally should be, to be accurate).
That said, Grellin is still a useful and insightful tool. Being able to see how long one dish takes to burn off compared to another may just convince someone to pick a lean chicken salad over a fatty meat lasagna. Hey, that’s better than nothing! Interested in learning more about healthy restaurant foods? Check out our exclusive report, 20 Healthy Meals to Order at Fast Food Chains!