Here’s a thing. According to some ‘research,*’ the average Brit consumes an impressive 32,256 calories a year in chocolate biscuits. I think that’s pretty much a false finding, because a choccie Digestive, the UK’s fave, has 83 calories. This equates to a little over one biscuit a day. I don’t eat chocolate biscuits, but all the people I know who do can’t eat only one biscuit at a go. It’s apparently impossible.


Let’s look at the full list of the Top Ten sources of what you might call ‘empty calories.’

Chocolate biscuits


Fast food




Chocolate bars


Ice cream




Cheese and biscuits








The figure for fast food looks a bit low. A large Big Mac meal will give you 1326. A mere 29,000 odd for crisps, or chips as the Statesiders have it. That looks light too, that’s only about 24 bags. In a year? I know people who can do that in three weeks.

The chocolate bars figure I truly, madly, deeply doubt. A Mars a day may help you work, rest*** and play (hands up if you remember that ad tagline), but amounts to a staggering 90,000 calories a year. Ice cream, pretty uncertain about that. That’s about 130 100g/4oz portions a year, and I know a few people who could put that away in three months.

Cakes, meh, I don’t believe that either. I’ll ignore the cheese and biscuits, jump the alcohol for later consideration, and say I also find the numbers for pastries and puddings suspiciously low.

It’s the alcohol that’s the real ‘Nope. I’m not having that,’ statistic. If you drink pints, that figure amounts to 75, or just over one pint per week. Nobody who drinks beer drinks that little. A large G&T, widely regarded as the slimmers’ weapon of choice, will give you 110 calories, and that’s about three a week, even with slimline tonic. Doesn’t really add up, does it?

The flaws here arise from the methodology used by I’d never heard of them either, but heyho. Anyway, they fall into the classic reporting trap of saying the average Brit consumes these quantities every year. That’s not true, because they’re in actuality the average amounts consumed, and that doesn’t mean that the average Brit does this. You can only draw the conclusion that the average number of empty calories eaten in a year by users of is this, and they’re a self-selecting research group anyway.

I dunno why I bother, I really don’t.

*‘Danger Will Robinson! Danger!’

**Question mark over these calories being empty.

**Even when was a nipper I wanted the Oxford sodding comma to be there. Illiterate copywriters.