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Elkhart County 4-H Fair: Just how unhealthy is fair food?

It’s no surprise: a day at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair can cost you. Once you pay to get inside, you obviously have to ride as many rides as possible after scarfing down a funnel cake. 

But since it’s the fair, you don’t stop at that. 

There’s a cup of ice cream at the Dairy Bar, a slice of pie or a crispy pile of Saratoga chips. Before you know it, your wallet is crying for mercy. And your body could be, too. 

For consistency’s sake, take the “average” American woman and man’s weight in 2015: 166.2 and 195.5 pounds, respectively, the Washington Post reports.

Just one plate of fried dough can pack a heavy caloric punch, but multiple items in a day or during fair week is colossal. 

Finding nutritional information about fair food isn’t easy, either. Numbers aren’t posted next to a menu item (and probably for good reason) and calorie count can depend on toppings, size, serving, amount and type of oil, flour and other ingredients. 

After fair week is over, here’s how long the average American adult would have to exercise to work off fair food, using CalorieLab’s calculator

  • 8 oz. Pepsi: 100 calories, 0 grams fat, according to Pepsico. Woman leisurely biking: Two hours. Man leisurely biking: Two hours. 
  • Original Auntie Anne’s pretzel: 340 calories, 5 grams fat, according to Auntie Anne’s. Woman vigorously swimming: 30 minutes. Man vigorously swimming: About 20 minutes. 
  • Funnel cake with powdered sugar: 760 calories, 44 grams fat, according to Livestrong. Note: Exact nutrition depends on oil, size and toppings. Woman running at moderate pace: An hour and a half. Man running at moderate pace: An hour and 15 minutes. 
  • Elephant ear with sugar topping: 500 calories, according to LivestrongNote: Exact nutrition depends on oil, size and toppings. Woman mowing the lawn: One hour. Man mowing the lawn: One hour and 15 minutes. 
  • Fried Oreo with powdered sugar: 130.48 calories, 9.16 grams fat, according to The Baltimore Sun. Woman doing house chores: One hour and 15 minutes. Man doing house chores: One hour.  

That’s not to say it’s detrimental to share a funnel cake with a friend or avoid Food Row at all costs. Fair Week is a beloved part of the community and it’s OK to treat yourself, but maybe in moderation to avoid the huge calorie ticket and potentially upset stomach. 

Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron.

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