Thanksgiving Day: Really 4,500 Calories?

One reporter puts it to the test

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 18, 2012 5:10 PM CST

(Newser) – So, you've heard that Americans typically wolf down more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day? That's what the Calorie Control Council says, but Tara Parker-Pope at the New York Times was skeptical. So she cooked up a highly indulgent Thanksgiving meal, including 6 ounces of turkey with crispy skin (299 calories), sausage stuffing (310), and a well-buttered dinner roll (310). Then came a fattening sweet-potato casserole (300), mashed with gravy and butter (140), and a few greens and cranberry sauce (208).

Dessert was killer, naturally, with pumpkin pie (316), pecan pie (503), and whipped cream (100). But that came to just 2,486 calories. Sure, wine and a hefty breakfast could fill in the rest, but stomach size and nausea would make that a toughy. So the 4,500-count may well be an exaggeration that "diet food companies would like us to believe," writes Parker-Pope. But make no mistake: Your heart and gall bladder will still suffer from indulgent eating. Click for Parker-Pope's full blog.

Thanksgiving dinner: fattening, but not actually 4,500 calories.
Thanksgiving dinner: fattening, but not actually 4,500 calories.   (Shutterstock)
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