Sunday, March 04, 2007

Calories

Yesterday, Jennifer quoted a radio show claim that Starbuck's scones have 1,000 calories. This sparked a discussion about calories. It makes sense that scones would have a lot of calories. They are very dense, and probably contain a large amount of butter. But 1,000 calories is a lot. A Big Mac doesn't even have1,000 calories.

Well, what all the calories in a scone came from butter? How much is 1,000 calories of butter? Since butter is almost purely fat, which has 9 calories per gram, 1,000 calories would be about 110 grams of butter. We figured that 110 grams is somewhere between ½ stick and 1 stick of butter. (It turns out one stick of butter weights 113.4 grams, according to this site). A scone would be a liquidy mess if it contained this much butter.

After I got home, I looked it up on Starbuck's website. Since the pastry products vary by region, these are the numbers for the stores around downtown Seattle. Depending on the scone, they have between 480 and 500 calories. That's a ton of calories, but short far short of 1,000.

To put this into perspective, I decided to look up some other breakfast options. Let's go check out Denny's. Denny's closest thing to a scone, calorie-wise is a Veggie-cheese omlette. I think a semi-health-conscious person might choose either one, given worse options. This makes the scone look not so bad. It's not a cup of yogurt, by any means, but it's still within reasonable range of its peers.

It's hard to look at the Denny's menu without noticing that a lot of breakfast items have calorie counts which contain four digits. The most disturbing is the Country Sausage Bowl:

1680 calories. 108 grams of fat. The serving size is just 4oz short of being 2 lbs of food. Jennifer, the sodium count will give you a headache just by reading it.



What is even in this thing? It's not on the menu any longer at Dennys's main site, so you have to look around a little.

Country Sausage Bowl

Two helpings of golden hash browns topped with two eggs, crumbled sausage, diced green peppers and onions, country gravy and Cheddar cheese. Served with two strips of bacon, two sausage links and three fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

There's a close cousin that has less calories and fat (slightly), but the description is even more bewildering:

Two Sausage & Cheddar Bowl

Two Sausage & Cheddar Bowl Smoked sausage and crumbled sausage, chopped green peppers and onions layered on top of two fluffy scrambled eggs. Served over a mound of country-fried potatoes that are covered in our creamy cheese sauce. Topped with shredded Cheddar cheese.


 

But we what about that venerable standard of unhealthy eating, the Big Mac? Well, compared to these nuclear bowls, it is starting to look pretty good.



Wait, just a second… as far as fat, calories, and sodium, you can eat Three Big Macs and still withstand less damage than by eating the Country Sausage Bowl. Wow.

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