Back in the day when I was 30lbs heavier, I had NO concept of the number of calories in foods I ate. In fact, I didn’t even know that chicken cutlets and chicken wings are deep fried. Over time, however, I started to gain a general understanding of the calories in many different foods, which helped me become “calorie aware”. I think improving your calorie awareness can make a big difference to help you achieve better health and a leaner body.
I created this Calorie IQ Test to (1) help improve your calorie awareness and (2) raise calorie awareness around the world (maybe that’s a bit of an ambitious goal).
If you get 6 or more of the following 10 questions correct, then you pass the Calorie IQ test. Let’s see how you do!
1. Olive Oil
4oz. (little bigger than a blackberry)
4oz., skinless breast
| a) 25|
| a) 200|
| a) 160|
6. Raw Broccoli
| a) 0|
| a) 0|
| a) 30|
7. French Fries
1 Large, McDonalds
9. Ice Cream
1 Pint, Haagan Dazs
| a) 200|
| a) 35|
| a) 500|
1 cup cooked
| a) 75|
1. Olive Oil C. 120 Calories
Olive oil is a staple of a very heart healthy diet. But because 1 gram of fat has 9 calories vs. 1g of protein and carbs at 4 calories each, foods that are pure fat are deceptively calorie dense. Olive oil is great, but it still has 14 grams of fat in only one tablespoon, so try to eat it in moderation.
2. Bacon D. 600
You are going to notice a theme here that foods that are high in fat have A LOT of calories. A serving of 4 ounces of Bacon has 16g saturated fat, which has been linked to higher rates of heart disease and other ailments. We’re only human, so if you grab some bacon, just remember only a little bacon has a lot of calories. And you get a bonus point if you guessed within 3 grams of 48 grams of total fat.
3. Turkey A. 160
I chose Turkey right after bacon to highlight the contrast between calories of fatty meats vs. lean meats. Lean meats can fill you up without eating too many calories, which is why they are an important part of a nutrition strategy focused on losing fat. You still get a solid 36 grams of protein in a 4 ounce portion of skinless turkey breast, but only 4 grams of fat.
4. Can of Coke C. 140
While Coke is certainly an American staple and I’ve probably drank the equivalent of a small pond’s worth in my life, it’s awful from a nutritional perspective. Drinking calories is the easiest way to pack on the fat, which I’m guessing you probably don’t want. Even fruit juices have most of the nutrients stripped from them. And if you guessed 39 grams of sugar, you get a bonus point. Nice work.
5. Water A. 0
Water provides no calories and is the best way hands down to satisfy your thirst. Soda and sports drink companies are exceptional marketers, but they will NEVER create a more satisfying fluid than water. I was a Powerade and soda junkie until my junior year in college when I realized I was significantly dehydrated all the time. It took me about two weeks to get “used” to drinking water, now nothing else satisfies my thirst!
6. Raw Broccoli A. 30
While raw broccoli might not whet your appetite, it’s loaded with heart healthy antioxidants and like most other veggies, is very low calorie. Eating a lot of veggies is another smart way to keep calories lower during a fat loss program.
7. French Fries C. 500
French Fries are a disaster for your health because they’ve been deep fried in hydrogenated oils (very unhealthy). Inside the crusty filled monstrosity are mashed potatoes that have been processed with some added butter and salt (in general, the less processed a food the better) . Deep frying any food adds a couple hundred calories no problem because the foods are soaked in these dangerous hydrogenated oils. Needless to say, it’s ideal to avoid deep fried foods if you can. I do miss fries sometimes and indulge in them every once in a while, but I don’t find them satisfying anymore at all.
8. Blueberries B. 85
Blueberries are considered by many to be a “superfood” because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, and boast 4 grams of fiber to help keep you feeling full. Blueberries are not calorie dense, which makes them a great food to snack on, as opposed to fries of course.
9. Ice Cream C. 1,000
Who doesn’t love ice cream? It’s SO unfortunate that whole milk ice creams that taste amazing have tons of calories. 1 pint of Haagan Dazs packs a whopping 72 grams of fat, which is more grams of fat than what is recommended for an entire day. If you do have some ice cream, try limiting the amount, or you can choose sorbet, or low fat and low sugar ice creams that don’t quite pack the decadent punch of Haggan Daaz, but they have far fewer calories.
10. Oatmeal B. 150
Oatmeal with no added sugar doesn’t exactly taste great, but it’s very filling (4 grams of fiber) without too many calories. Adding in some fruit like blueberries, strawberries, or a touch of cinnamon can add a lot of satisfying flavor.
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Woot, you taught me well, I only got two wrong and they were the unhealthy foods I don’t eat, Bacon and Ice Cream! Very cool test
Haha. Thanks, Jesse. Nice work. I guess it’s a good thing you got the ice cream and bacon wrong then!
The title for this article is an attention grabber – nice work. I liked the idea of the test because it showed me that I overestimate the calories in foods (weird revelation, I know). I think another great test would be for us to compare foods to see which of two (e.g., peanut butter and yogurt) are less in fat or less in calories.
That’s a GREAT idea, Aleks. Thanks.
I definitely need to improve my calorie awareness. I thought I would ace the test; I was wrong.
You’re listing much larger serving sizes for the fatty foods in order to artificially inflate the calorie counts. Who eats an entire pint of ice cream and thinks it’s equivalent to a cup of blueberries?
According to the bacon package in my refrigerator, 4 ounces of bacon is TEN SLICES. No one needs to sit down and eat 10 slices of bacon. If you eat a reasonable serving like 3 slices, it’s 150 calories–the exact same amount in your ‘healthy’, ‘low-calorie’ oatmeal.
Jupiter is correct, but to further the point, where does the “little bigger than a blackberry” come in when you’re talking about a 4oz. serving? 4ozs. is a quarter pound. That’d be a hamburger sized piece of bacon.
I think it diminishes the effectiveness of the ‘test’ when people do things like this.
@Dave – Thanks, I will take that into consideration when I do another calorie test in the future.
Being part Italian, I can tell you that olive oil is very much a part of my daily diet. But I never really took into consideration that even though it’s a good fat, it still has calories like everything else we eat. I used to pour LOADS of olive oil into the pan to saute my spinach with crushed garlic and wondered why my stomach still resembled a pillow. Anyway, I started only using a tablespoon of olive oil and then adding some lemon juice to the vegetables or salad or whatever I was making. I don’t miss the added oil and the acidity of the lemon juice adds a “brightness” to the dish too.