Diet food companies claim that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. Tara Parker-Pope fact-checks:
Let’s start piling our plate with a generous 6-ounce serving of turkey, with the skin of course. Since dark meat has more calories, we’ll go with 4 ounces of dark meat (206 calories) and 2 ounces of white meat (93 calories). Did I mention we’re eating the crispy skin? Don’t forget the stuffing. I picked a not-so-healthy sausage stuffing (310 calories). Since it’s a holiday, let’s throw caution to the wind and eat lots of starchy, buttery foods. A dinner roll with butter (310 calories) plus two kinds of potatoes – a big serving of mashed sweet-potato casserole made with butter, brown sugar and topped with marshmallows (divide your casserole dish into 8 servings and it will be 300 calories each) plus a half-cup of mashed potatoes with butter and gravy (140 calories).
You’re not getting full are you? Let’s add 2/3 cup green bean casserole (110 calories), a dollop of cranberry sauce (about 15 calories), and roasted brussels sprouts because our mother made us eat them (83 calories). And since we don’t want to hurt anybody's feelings, we’ll take one slice each of pumpkin pie (316 calories) and pecan pie (503 calories) with generous dollops of homemade whipped cream on each slice (100 calories).
O.K., now I feel sick. How much have I eaten? The grand total is: 2,486 calories.