Calculating the calories in food is not a perfect science. But we took a stab at it.
We put two foods in a head-to-head competition to see if you can spot the meal or snack that is higher in calories.
The results will surprise you.
Since we only looked at calories and not other nutrition factors like fat, fibre, protein, sugar, and vitamins, the lower-calorie food may not necessarily be the healthier option overall. Still, this quiz is particularly eye-opening if you’re of the camp that believes “calories in versus calories out” is the most important part of any diet plan.
Medium-sized muffin: > 300 calories
Cupcake: around 200 calories
Think of your morning muffin as cake without a fancy layer of frosting. A medium-sized blueberry muffin -- the kind that often looks so tempting in the display case at coffee chains like Dunkin' doughnuts or Starbucks -- will typically cost you more than 300 calories.
Muffins are soft, sweet, and tasty for a reason -- the fluffy breads are loaded with sugar and oils, meaning they are also high in saturated fat. Although a standard frosted vanilla cupcake is also high in saturated fat and sugar, the individually-sized cakes will generally only run you around 200 calories.
1 cup soybeans: around 300 calories
3.5 ounces of sirloin: < 200 calories
Soybeans are an important source of protein for meatless-eaters -- they are also surprisingly high in calories.
One cup of the white legume boasts around 300 calories. Steak may get a bad rap for being marbled with fat, but it can be prepared to slash calories. A 3.5-ounce serving of lean cut sirloin steak has under 200 calories if it isn't slathered in butter or other artery-clogging oils.
1 slice cheese pizza: less than 250 calories
Basic 8-piece sushi roll: 300 calories
Sushi is often touted as low-calorie dinner option. A lesser-known fact is that a typical sushi roll contains nearly one cup of white rice totaling around 170 calories, and contains very little protein.
Toppings like spicy mayonnaise or tempura flakes pack on extra calories. A basic eight-piece sushi roll can set you back around 300 calories. One slice of cheese pizza, or about one-eighth of a 12-inch pie, is typically under 250 calories.
One mojito: > 200 calories
One serving tortilla chips: 150 calories
One mojito seems harmless -- there are just five simple ingredients including lime, club soda, and mint -- but the cocktail can add more than 200 calories to your daily diet. One serving of corn tortilla chips, on the other hand, is only about 150 calories.
One-quarter cup ketchup: 60 calories
One-quarter cup salsa: 16 calories
Ketchup may be made from tomatoes, but the popular condiment is a far cry from the fruit that it came from.
Ketchup is full of sugar, which is why its tastes so good when we slather it on hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. There are about 60 calories in one-quarter of a cup of ketchup. The same serving size of salsa has about 16 calories.
One avocado: 300 calories
Two tablespoons Peanut butter: 200 calories
Both avocado and peanut butter are high in healthy fats, but which spread fares better in a battle of calories? Two tablespoons of peanut butter hovers around 200 calories. One avocado can top 300 calories.
12 ounces of O.J.: 170 calories
A 12-ounce can of soda: 140 calories
Orange juice is a good source of Vitamin C and potassium. But it's also very high in sugar. Twelves ounces of O.J. has about 170 calories. An equal size can of soda has about 140 calories, although the fizzy stuff lacks any real nutritional value.
20 banana chips: 150 calories
Single serving bag of pretzels: 110 calories
Don't let the word 'banana' fool you. Banana chips are high in calories because they are deep-fried in oil.
A serving size of banana chips, about 20 pieces, contains around 150 calories. A fresh banana typically contains a little over 100 calories and while the pale yellow fruit is naturally high in sugar, chip manufacturers may add even more sugar to make their product sweeter.
Pretzels are a lower-calorie snack. A single serving bag of hard pretzels generally packs under 110 calories.
Half cup of grapes: 30 calories
Half cup of raisins: 220 calories
Raisins may be made from grapes, but they contain significantly more calories for the same serving size. That's because when grapes are dried into raisins, the amount of sugar in each grape becomes concentrated -- you lose most of the water.
As a result, half a cup of raisins contains around 220 calories while a similar amount of grapes only has 30 calories. You could eat much fewer raisins for the same amount of calories, but chances are you would not feel as satisfied.
Waffle: Less than 150 calories
Half cup of granola: At least 180 calories plus milk
Waffles seem more like dessert than a breakfast food. But if you leave off the extravagant toppings, like butter, syrup, and whipped cream, the fluffy batter-based cakes aren't that bad.
One plain waffle has fewer than 150 calories.
Half a cup of granola, on the other hand, typically contains at least 180 calories, and lots of sugar. Add an extra 60-80 calories if you're eating the sweet cereal with milk.
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