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March 20, 2009

The average American eats 63 dozen doughnuts a year

I've been meaning to publish Bucky's guest post all day, but breaking news -- such as it is in my world -- and time-sensitive material kept distracting me. Luckily Bucky is out in the wilderness of Wyoming this weekend and can't check on me. I asked him if he had ever heard of internet cafes, but he just laughed at me and said this place doesn't even have a cafe. Or a place to buy groceries, for that matter. "Alcova, Wyoming isn't the end of the world, but you can see it from there," he told me. Quote of the day. Anyway, here's Bucky. EL

So, as I was doing research on RPIs in preparation for filling out my brackets this year, I ran across this: ...

Amount of junk food the average American eats in one year:

Refined white sugar – 100 pounds

Fats & Oils – 55 pounds

Soda – 300 cans/bottles

Chewing Gum – 200 sticks

Ice Cream – 80 quarts

Candy – 18 pounds

Potato Chips – 5 pounds

Other Snack Chips – 2 pounds

Doughnuts – 63 Dozen

Cookies & Cakes – 70 Pounds


(Let me note that I have a high level of mistrust for "averages."  If you stand with one foot frozen in a block of ice and the other foot submerged in a bucket of boiling water, on average your feet are quite comfortable.)

What is clear is that, in several of these categories, I pull the average up.  Soda, for example, although I drink diet soda, so I’m not sure if that counts or not.  (I’m very confident that more than one Sandboxer will explain to me why it does.)

I eat way too much junk food.  I’m a creature of habit, and this habit I blame primarily on Fizzies and Bosco.   And on a guy we all called Pete the Painter, who took me to my very first McDonald’s, a day I remember over 40 years later as clearly as if it was yesterday.  And finally, on Dave Thomas who invented the drive-thru at precisely the same time I bought my first car, a ’65 Pontiac Tempest.     

But there was one thing that really struck me about that list.  When the heck did chewing gum get classified as food?

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:30 PM | | Comments (21)


Bucky, I guess gum counts as food if you swallow it. Clearly I'm not keeping up my share of the junk food averages!

Then what about chewing tobacco?

There's gotta be a mistake in the donut calculation.. 756 donuts a year per person? That's two per day. I don't know anyone who eats more than two per week.

That's what struck me. Not the chewing gum, for heaven's sake. EL

Over a dozen donuts a week? Wow. I don't eat a dozen a year. I am equally as shocked by the soda. I would have thought the average would be over 1 a day. I probably drink 200 bottles of wine in a year and I know people who drink alot more soda than I do wine.

Two donuts a day? A family of four going through a gallon and a half of ice cream every week? These numbers all look quite high. My guess is that these are the numbers produced, not necessarily the numbers consumed.

That donut figure sounds wildy over the top. According to The Donut Book, the consumption of donuts per year in the U.S. and Canada is 10 billion and 1 billion, or 33 per person per year not 63 dozen. It's hard to imagine a family of four eatng 5 dozen donuts a week. Maybe the raw foods cult isn't the best place to get stats. I couldn't even tell you when I saw someone eat a donut.

I'm gonna guessimate that I have 2 donuts a month, so who ate my other 61 dozen last year?

Once again, I find out I'm under achieving. So, where should I go buy my 1.something dozen doughnuts each week?

Lissa if the 63 dozen a year number was true you would see people carrying stacks of doughnuts everywhere. Just follow the trail of powdered sugar.

Fact check much? Jim, bob, et al that "fact" is wildt untrue. It's off by a factor of 20, not even close. Fake info on the internet? I am shocked.

Let's see...

Refined sugar - 100 pounds
Could be. Like Chickenman, its everywhere.

Fats and Oils - 55 pounds
Plausible. For this group it would include large quantities of duck fat.

Soda - 300 cans/bottles
You betchum Red Ryder.

Chewing Gum - 200 sticks
Less than one a day. If you are a chewer how can you have only one a day?

Ice Cream - 80 quarts
About 1-1/2 quarts a week. Remember, that includes all the cups and cones you have during the summer.

Candy - 18 pounds
That's less than two candy bars a week. Adds up, doesn't it.

Potato Chips - 5 pounds
That's just one of the small bags a week (1-1/2 ounces). If you include Tortilla Chips for Salsa and Nachos you've got it made.

Other Snack Chips - 2 pounds
See above. For me this is the five pounder and Potato Chips is near zero.

Donuts - 63 dozen
No way, Jose. I wouldn't want to even see the person who puts that many away.

Cookies and Cakes - 70 pounds
That's only a little over 3 ounces a day. A couple of those homemade chocolate chip cookies or a brownie or two and you're above average.

This analysis has been brought to you by the letter P.

It is interesting how we all define what seems accurate by whether it fits with what we observe in our lives.

Some people are just in disbelief about the levels of donut consumption. That is probably because you surround yourself with people who don't eat donuts. If you lived in an environment of high donut consumption (insert your police or other occupational joke here) you would probably be surprised to learn that some people don't eat donuts at all.

This reminds of the New York intellectual who couldn't believe McGovern lost the 1972 election on the basis that all of his (the intellectual) friends voted for McGovern.

Nice workj RIE. A little too mathy for my brain this early on a Saturday.

The doughnut number is plain wrong.

The McGovern analogy is apt but it's a bounded distribution. In this case it would be more like McGovern supporters being surprised that Nixon won by 2 billion votes.

My Dad LOVES doughnuts but even he would be hard-pressed to down that many. If doughnuts are in the house, he might eat 2, 3 max per day. He's dieting now anyway. My sister is a donut fiend too, but she only would eat 1 per day. She portions them, and eats a bite at a time.

those stats are a little over the top. I must be bringing those averages down because I don't even eat some of the stuff mentioned. Its been at least a year since I last chewed gum.

One word: "munchkins."

What's the ratio between munchkins and donuts?? 6 to 1, 8 to 1, 10 to 1?? Does that help the math problem?

All - I went back and checked my source and, indeed it says 63 dozen donuts. It must be's on the internet.

Laura Lee - if it wasn't for chewing tobacco, my diet would contain no leafy vegetables.

Welcome back, Bucky. Were you in the scenic Northwest half of Wyoming or the slightly less scenic Southeast?

I see Alcova has a population of 20. You may find things a little more crowded when you come to Baltimore.

We just got back from Chicago. Our hotel had a breakfast buffet, complete with LARGE donuts, covered with either chocolate or poisonous pink frosting. Those donuts were moving like the proverbial hotcakes (they had those, too). I think the Midwest drives up those numbers.

Laura Lee - I was in central Wyoming, nothing like NW but not as bad as SE either. On a stretch of the North Platte River locally nicknamed the "miracle mile". You just know the fishing has to be good when they call it the "miracle mile."

Alcova has a population of 20 now. But when I was a kid it was a booming metropolis of, maybe, 100. If I took the time, I could probably list them all for you. Let's see...there were the Johnsons (3), the Warners (4)


Which is just epic. Thanks for the dear post.

Best pairing of lame shill with dumb topic: How to get pregnant? Eat 63 dozen donuts a year.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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