1,000,000 calories October 21, 2005

So the other day a friend of mine tossed an interesting statistic at me.

Over 70% of American homes contain more than 1,000,000 calories of food.

This sounded absurd to me at first hearing. Back of the envelope math shows that even if you say the average family size is 5, and that all of those members ate 3000 calories a day (they did say American homes), that having a 1,000,000 calorie stockpile would mean:

1,000,000/(3,000*5) = 66 days worth of food!

But then I started enumerating the items in my home, and realized it might well be possible. That 50 lb bag of rice in the garage? ~50,000 calories. And there’s food in the pantry, in any soda we might have, the fridge, the freezer…. lots of calories around. Ok. So it might add up.

Just for fun I picked a fairly densely caloric food (white sugar) and calculated how many calories my pantry would contain if filled entirely with it.

(Sugar 770 cal/cup) * (119.688 cups/cubic foot) * (5' wide * 5' deep * 6' tall pantry) = ~ 13,000,000 calories.

13 Million.

(Thanks to google for some of the conversions.)

That’s astonishing! Assuming sugar could actually keep you alive if that’s all you ate, there are enough calories in a small-ish pantryfull to feed a big-eating family of 5 for 2.35 YEARS!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

(In case you are wondering, I don’t have too much free time, though I can see how one would draw that conclusion after reading this. It’s just that, faced with an itch like the fact that instigated this inquiry, I’ve found it’s most efficient for me just to scratch it and get it over with.)