It’s hardly surprising that most Americans consume way more calories than recommended by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a panel of 13 nutrition experts who help devise federal nutrition standards.
The average American gobbles down somewhere around 2,700 calories daily, about 300 to 1,000 more than needed, depending upon age, gender and level of physical activity. Worse, the vast majority of these consumed calories aren’t likely to qualify as “good,” which is defined as packing maximum nutritional value per calorie. The good stuff, of course, are things like dark green and orange vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Experts recommend mostly skipping edibles like meat and sweets.
It’s sound advice, which most of us ignore.
Herewith, America’s top 10 sources of calories, according to the Committee, with examples from Calorie Count:
- Grain-based desserts, such as cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers and granola bars. A single 44-gram Krispy Kreme glazed donut contains 160 calories.
- Yeast breads. A single 40-gram Sara Lee classic dinner roll contains 110 calories.
- Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes. A 1-cup serving of Uncle Ben’s chicken & broccoli rice contains 190 calories.
- Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola Classic contains 140 calories.
- Pizza. One large slice of Papa John’s original crust with cheese contains 306 calories.
- Alcoholic beverages. One shot of Smirnoff’s watermelon vodka contains 46 calories.
- Pasta and pasta dishes. One serving (three pieces) of Trader Joe’s lasagna noodles contains 210 calories.
- Mexican mixed dishes. Rubio’s carne asada taco with chips, rice and beans contains 710 calories.
- Beef and beef-mixed dishes. Beef sirloin tips with mushroom and wine sauce (255 grams) from Omaha Steaks contains 260 calories.
- Dairy desserts. Costco’s very berry sundae (445 grams) contains 390 calories.
Total calories if you ate all of the above: 2,522.
Calorie-free food for thought: Check out the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, part of UC San Diego Health. It offers a range of services, from diverse weight management programs to obesity treatments and weight loss surgery.