Calorie Counts: Accurate or Erroneous?

by Kelly Senyei, Epicurious

Do you rely on the calorie count of foods to plan your daily caloric intake? If so, you may want to think twice before you take a bite into what you thought was a 250-calorie muffin. A recent video by the New York Times reveals that many packaged foods and restaurant dishes' calorie counts are more erroneous than accurate.

If the mere appearance of the caloric penalty of a dish on a restaurant menu hasn't been enough to sway your order, perhaps now the lingering doubt over the accuracy of those numbers may be the final blow to direct you to healthier alternatives. The Times tested the calorie count validity of five packaged and restaurant foods, and despite the small sample size, the results prove that the number of calories listed isn't always the number of calories you're consuming.

See more: How to Shop for a Better Breakfast at the Grocery Store

After hours of tests and research, food scientists at St. Luke's Hospital Obesity Research Center in New York City concluded the following:

- A yogurt muffin listed as 640 calories was actually 734.7 calories
- A grande Starbucks Frappucino listed as 370 calories was actually 392.9 calories
- A pre-made vegetarian sandwich listed as 228 calories was actually 548.4 calories
- A Chipotle burrito listed as 1,175 calories was actually 1,295 calories

The one food with an accurate calorie count was a 6-inch Subway sandwich, which was listed as 360 calories, and after testing, proved to be 350.8 calories. So despite falling short on their foot-long claims, it appears Subway might actually know a thing or two about crunching the numbers when it comes to calories.

Do you pay attention to calorie counts when you order from restaurant menus? Or is The Times' discovery of inaccurate figures one more reason to order according to taste preferences rather than calorie counts?

More from Epicurious:
Essential Tools for Portion Control
5 Most Common Recipe Mistakes People Make
Healthy Comfort Recipes for Any Day
7 Steps to Better Guacamole

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