Website calculates drinks as food calories – “terrifying”

The excellent blog The Consumerist posted yesterday about a BBC web site that converts drinks into calories and then into their food equivalents. Meg Marco, the post author, called the results “terrifying.”

I plugged two “large glasses of wine” into the calculator, which suggested 335 calories, and this is what it generated as food equivalents: a slice of pizza, an onion bhaji, and two jaffa cakes. Well, yes, I suppose that could be terrifying if I knew what two of those things were! So I ran it again and it said that it was the equivalent of a hamburger and a jaffa cake! Wow, the jaffistas really control that widget!

Clearly, there are many variations of a slice of pizza, some more caloric than others; ditto for hamburgers (sliders?). And we’ve previously discussed how the calories in a glass of wine can change too. But the basic point remains true: wine has calories and those calories can be converted into potentially terrifying food equivalents! Or they could be translated into non-terrifying food equivalents: 335 calories of granola is not going to really scare anyone.

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14 Responses to “Website calculates drinks as food calories – “terrifying””

  1. Ahhh… the dreaded jaffa cake. Often considered one of the most terrifying pastries in the world.

    Are all wines the same? I would imagine that the calories are directly linked to the amount of alcohol…yes?

    Thanks – very interesting.

  2. Hi Tim –

    Thanks for stopping by. Have you actually had a jaffa cake and lived to tell the tale? Yes, wine calories differ mostly by alcohol–and residual sugar. Here’s a Q&A from last year on the subject. Cheers,

  3. Nothing wrong with a jaffa cake or three! Its also been a while since I heard anyone mention of an Onion Bhaji – two fine foods not readily available on this side of the Atlantic

  4. I really like the term “alcopop,” which I presume to refer to Smirnoff Ice or the like.

    Are there sections of the UK where they refer to it as “alcosoda” instead of “alcopop”? 😉

  5. Agreed with your points, Tyler. This is more of a fun application than it is scientific. The type of calories differ, for example, what’s the difference in calories of fat from a slice of pizza or a burger compared to wine?

  6. I would be interested to hear from a reputable scientist how this actually equates. In my experience “liquid calories” don’t translate to either usable energy or appreciable weight gain in the way food calories do. I know that results on this subject are often sketchy at best for a variety of reasons, but I tend to believe that alcohol as part of a healthy diet doesn’t exactly blow the whole equation. I take healthy diet pretty seriously yet I never seem to find a connection between my drinking and my weight or health. I would imagine that one factor might be how quickly liquid moves through your body and whether it is really in the system long enough for your body to store a significant portion of the calories. But then, I’m no scientist, and I only know how it works for my body (or how it seems to work as the case may be).

  7. Will nobody put the poor guy out of his misery?

    Jaffa Cake – a small, cookie of sorts, with a layer of orange jelly and topped with milk chocolate. Created by McVities I believe. Now copied by many manufacturers in much the same way as the Fig Newton.

    Onion Bhaji – A mixture of sliced onions, spices and batter, molded into a circular disk or blob and deep fried. The classic Indian starter and mid-Saturday night drinking binge snack. Also excellent cold the next day.

    Both items are undoubtedly calorie-packed but well worth the price. Absolutely delicious. They would also certainly qualify as ‘impossible food pairings’, particularly the Jaffas….unimaginable!

  8. “They would also certainly qualify as ‘impossible food pairings’, particularly the Jaffas….unimaginable!”

    oooooooh! Richard, don’t tempt me to lay it out as an “impossible” challenge!! 😉

  9. Ahh, but it would be an IMPOSSIBLE pairing. If you have ever tasted a Jaffa then you will know what I mean – that sweet milk chocolate blended with tart orange marmalade jelly and a light fluffy cookie base – impossible! Jaffas and wine might even be fatal. You’re right, you’d better not do it…..heh heh.

  10. […] or free monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting!Yesterday we posted on a “terrifying” web site that broke the news that wine has calories! Oh wait, that wasn’t the scary part. The food […]

  11. I can’t imagine counting the calories in my glasses of wine. It’s all about the taste, not counting every calorie.

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  12. I suggest trying Jaffas with Pedro Ximenez sherry (sweet and with orangy notes). It might (kind of) work.

  13. My wife is always impressed with how well I eat, but appalled at how many calories I drink in wine every night. Now I can refute that by telling her it’s the equivalent to just a couple of onion bhajis and jaffa cakes. Luckily, she’ll have no idea what those are 😉

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  14. Pathmark Weekly Circular…

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