Ever Count Calories? Casey Neistat Does the Math on Listed versus Actual Calorie Counts

Food is one of those things we consume an awful lot of without thinking too much about it – at least not theologically. Food represents 10% of the US GDP. It’s a big part of every single day of our lives. American spend more than a trillion dollars on food annually.

I’ve written a few things on food before – on the importance of the evening meal, on the concept of menuha and a theology of food, and even preached on food awhile back. Food is huge in our world. I’m paying much more attention to what I eat these days, not in order to lose weight, but in order to think about it theologically. Where does my food come from? What is food production doing to the environment? How do we balance the expanding global need with the means of production? How should the Christian relate to food? There are tons of interesting questions involved.

I ran into an interesting Op-doc from the New York Times this morning. Filmmaker Casey Neistat did something I’ve been dying to do ever since the first time I counted calories. He took a few food items and checked out the actual calorie count versus the advertised calorie count on the label. For a few of these items, it wasn’t pretty. I would love to do this with a bunch of different foods in my life.

The downside of this is that it feels a little bit like a “gotcha” video. Wouldn’t he really need to test three or four of the items to make sure he didn’t get a huge one? Didn’t the one bad one (pre-packaged convenience store sandwich) throw the whole thing off. All it all, I was fairly surprised with the accuracy.

The funniest thing to me was that Subway was the only one that came in under on the count, which confirms my suspicion that Subway is a little skimpy on the portions when compared with their advertisements. If I had my chance, these are the items I’d like to have tested: Panera Baked Potato Soup, Five Guy’s Cheeseburger, Coke Zero (no calories, really?), Creamy Club from Planet Sub (no sprouts, no mayo), and Oklahoma Joe’s Smokie Joe Sandwich with fries… check that last one. I don’t care how many calories it has. It’s perfect just the way it is.

Below are Neistat’s results & the short clip.

Grandpa’s Original Yogurt Muffin
listed: 640         Actual: 734

Grande Frappaccino from Starbucks
listed: 370         Actual: 392

Chipotle Burrito
listed: 1175         Actual: 1295

Vegetarian sandwich
listed: 228         Actual: 548

Subway 6″ Turkey Sub
listed: 360          Actual: 350


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  • Bob

    One of the reasons 66% of Americans are currently clinically overweight or clinically obese is too many people have your philosophy of “I don’t care how many calories it has”. Really, why even bother to write about calories with this viewpoint? Thanks for your support of the health crisis in America….. -Master of Science in Health

  • This just in from Michael Pollan:

    “Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable.”