There are plenty of people out there who carefully weigh out all their meals and account for every calorie before the first bite of food enters their mouth — but for most, calorie-counting is more of a rough estimate than an exact science.
To help visualize calories better, bodybuilder and fitness influencer Will Tennyson posted a video showing what 100 calories of specific fast foods really looks like.
Throughout the video, Tennyson weighs out a variety of fast food items — French toast, burgers, pizza, etc. — to show how minuscule a 100-calorie serving really is. The French toast turned into a forkful, the slice of pizza was relegated to a glorified sliver, and a Wendy’s cheeseburger was barely a bite’s worth.
If you were surprised by how little food Tennyson got for 100 calories, you’re probably not alone. In the video, he linked to a survey of diners from the American Journal of Public Health, which found that people generally underestimate the calories in their food by 600 calories — the equivalent of an entire Big Mac. Another survey out of Harvard found that a quarter of the participants were around 500 calories off.
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[Related: How to Count Macros for Weight Loss, Muscle Gain, and Maintenance]
Counting calories extends far beyond the main ingredients of a dish, especially when out at a restaurant. The food is typically prepped in oils and comes in a sauce or with a condiment that isn’t easy to account for. Understanding the impact of these hidden calories is important, even if you don’t know the exact numbers. This visual is especially useful for those who opt to follow an “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) diet, which relies on balancing your macros as opposed to strict calorie-counting.
How Will Tennyson Burned Those Calories
After eating a 100-calorie portion, Tennyson chose to perform cardio designed to burn it off. According to his fitness tracker, it took eight minutes and 48 seconds of running or six minutes and 24 seconds of jump rope to do the job. If you want to burn 100 calories quickly, there are other ways to do so, including a 10-minute swim, 30 minutes of weight lifting, and 30 minutes on a bike.
It’s All About Goals
This video shows how calories add up if you’re not aware of what you’re putting into your body. A bite of a friend’s French toast could be 100-plus calories you didn’t account for that day. And if you’re someone with a strict physique-related goal, not knowing that could throw you off your plan.
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[Related: Fat Loss For Athletes: The Right Way to Approach Calories and Hormones]
Remember, though, it’s possible to enjoy your favorite foods while staying fit. A 600-calorie cheeseburger can fit snugly into a person’s calorie and macro goals without issue if their portions are under control. It’s all about knowing what’s going into your body and how it relates to your individual needs.
Featured Image: Will Tennyson on YouTube