Unreal Eats is Healthy Living's original video series, where we go behind calorie counts and health claims to examine what's really in the processed foods that scream loudest in our food environment.
There's no need to prove that Thanksgiving is one big calorie fest, but do you know where those calories are coming from?
No one is totally sure how many calories the average American eats during Thanksgiving. The Calorie Control Council puts the number at 4,500. But, as The New York Times points out, it's possibly unwise to take a diet food association at its word on such matters. Tara Parker Pope did a personal experiment at home and found that a chef-described "gluttonous" meal, prepared in her kitchen for taste rather than health, would set a dinner guest back 2,486 calories.
That sounded abstemious to us, so we decided to do our own calculation. We made up a plate of Thanksgiving classics, keeping in mind our tendency toward a sweet tooth and an appetite for extra dinner rolls, to determine how many calories we think the average celebrant would consume on Thanksgiving if they weren't trying to rein it in.
We were surprised to find that some foods get a bad rap and didn't do much damage (gravy, here's to you!), while other perfectly innocuous-seeming dishes packed a caloric punch (side eye to that cheese plate on the coffee table).
Video by Amber Genuske, Meredith Melnick, Laura Schocker & Rachael Grannell