Calorie Density: Why It Matters More Than You Think

Defining Calorie Density

Recently Linn Steward, RDN, a Culinary Nutritionist and Recipe Analyst for Gourmet Metrics, LLC, and I had an interesting exchange on LinkedIn about nutrient density and calorie density. She inspired me to delve into the topic a little more deeply. Nutrient density is a measure of the nutritional content of food relative to its weight or volume. Instead of comparing 90 grams of strawberries to 250 grams of sweet potatoes, you compare the nutrients in 100 grams of individual foods to each other.

Calorie Density is Not Without Its Drawbacks

Calorie density (much like the glycemic index) can miss the point. For example, a banana has a calorie density of 89, while strawberries have a density of 32. This doesn’t mean that you should never eat another banana, though. Instead, this table could be used to understand that one could eat 1,000 grams of peaches for the same number of calories as they’d get in 100 grams of a cupcake.

Future Plans

Moving forward, I plan to create similar tables for other nutrients such as sugar, fiber, and fat. Leave a comment if there’s a specific nutrient that you’d be interested in seeing in the future!

The Calorie Density of Select Foods

FoodCalories per 100 gram
Fruit
Watermelon30
Strawberry32
Peach39
Pineapple50
Apple52
Pear57
Blueberry57
Kiwi61
Cherry63
Banana89
Vegetables
Zucchini15
Tomato18
Spinach23
Bell Pepper28
Mushroom28
Carrot35
Green Bean35
Pea84
Sweet Potato90
Corn 96
Grains
Oatmeal (cooked)71
Brown rice (cooked)112
Bread stuffing195
White bread266
Dinner roll273
Waffle291
Tortilla325
Cheerios cereal376
Lucky Charms cereal380
Ritz crackers480
Meat, Fish, Poultry
Cod105
Ham139
Venison150
Chicken breast165
Salmon206
Pork chop209
Chicken thigh214
Sirloin steak243
Ground beef (80% lean)272
Lamb chop390
Dairy
Skim milk34
Buttermilk 40
Whole milk61
Plain yogurt63
Fruit-flavored yogurt95
Cottage cheese98
Ricotta cheese138
Sour cream198
Mozzarella cheese300
Cheddar cheese404
Sweets and Snacks
Chocolate ice cream216
Nutrigrain cereal bar324
Pretzels384
Pop-Tart385
Frosted cupcake389
Chex mix418
Snickers candy bar491
Chocolate chip cookie492
Potato chips532
Cheetos560
Fast Food
Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha89
Panera Bread Thai Chicken Salad98
Milkshake119
Arby’s Beef n’ Cheddar Sandwich225
Single-patty cheeseburger236
Burger King Whopper237
KFC Original Drumstick242
Dairy Queen Blizzard248
Fried chicken sandwich290
French fries312

One Comment

  1. Marylee Koontz says:

    Fascinating. I was surprised meat wasn’t higher

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