Thanksgiving Day: Average American Consumes 4,500 Calories

On Thursday, Americans will sit down for a massive dinner on Thanksgiving Day, and, while they will most likely enjoy their time with family and friends, many of meals will also pack quite the calorie consumption punch.

According to the team at Calorie Control Council, Thanksgiving Day meals average 4,500 calories by the time entrees, side dishes, and dessert are counted.

Does that number seem ridiculously high? Tara Parker-Pope at the New York Times was skeptical, so she cooked up a meal and measured the calories.

Parker-Pope started by preparing 6 ounces of turkey with a crispy skin and discovered that it contained 299 calories. Next she added 310 calories worth of stuffing into the mix followed by 310 calories from a “well-buttered” dinner role. The writers sweet potato casserole added another 300 calories, and her mashed potatoes with gravy and butter threw in another 140 calories. Throw in another 208 calories for a few green sides and some cranberry sauce, and that magical number began to approach.

As expected, dessert is the biggest calorie buster on Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie can set the eater back 316 calories while pecan pie is worse at 503 calories and whipped cream adds 100 calories to any dessert.

While those numbers only equal 2,486 calories, many Americans also consume breakfast, snacks throughout the day that were prepared for entertaining, and often time alcohol, all of which quickly help pack on the calories and unfortunately the pounds.

Is 4,500 calories the magic number? For American’s who stick with light snacks before their big Thanksgiving Day meal and don’t consume a lot of alcohol, the answer is likely no. However, for those who celebrate with food all throughout the day, it is feasible that 4,500 calories may be consumed between food and drink.