How Dieting Works

Taking Calories In

diet mcdonalds
A meal at McDonald's can add up to almost a whole day's worth of calories.

The 1,800 calories that a typical person at rest needs per day is just not that many. For example, if you go to your neighborhood McDonald's restaurant and order the Big Xtra meal, you will get a sandwich, a large order of french fries and a large Coke®. This meal contains:

  • 710 calories in the sandwich*
  • 540 calories in the french fries*
  • 310 calories in the drink*

(*See McDonald's USA Nutrition Facts for details.)

In other words, just this one meal provides 1,560 calories you need during a day. If you get an M&M® McFlurry™ with it for dessert, you'll get 630 more calories, so you are already consuming almost 2,200 calories just at this one meal!

Similarly, if you go to Pizza Hut and get a Meat Lover's Pan Pizza®, each slice contains 360 calories.* If you eat three slices and get a large drink to go with it, that's 1,390 calories -- just 410 calories shy of a full day's worth of calories. (*See the Pizza Hut Nutrition Guide for details.)

diet cremes
These three cookies contain 165 calories.

Similarly, if you eat 12 SnackWell's Crème Sandwich Cookies -- which, if you think about it, really is not that hard to do -- you've taken in 660 calories. That's more than one-third of the daily caloric intake.

The point here is not to slam these products or make them look bad. For example, I've got two kids and I go to McDonald's at least once a week. The point is that, in America and most other developed countries, it is incredibly easy to find and consume calories. Let's take a look at what someone might consume in a typical day.