Calorie Test

multigrain bagel

Multigrain Bagel

This is not just a test of your knowledge of calories but also a test of your confidence in your own knowledge. Most of us think that we know more than we actually do.

By: Alexander Chernev,

Below you will see a list of 10 meals from popular fast food chains. Write down your estimate of the calorie content of each meal. No need to come up with a precise number; instead just provide a low and high estimate of each meal’s calorie count.

For example, if asked to indicate the calorie content of a Big Mac, you might think that it most likely has somewhere between 300 calories (low estimate) and 600 calories (high estimate).

Your goal is to identify high and low estimates such that the right answer falls between the two numbers you write down 90% of the time. In other words, this means that you should get at most one answer (10% of responses) wrong.

 

Meals Low
estimate
High
estimate
Dunkin’ Donuts multigrain bagel with lite cream cheese
Chili’s citrus fire chicken and shrimp fajitas
Denny’s smoked sausage scramble
Krispy Kreme’s whole wheat glazed donut
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder (without cheese)
Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup (8oz) in a sourdough soup bowl
Romano’s Macaroni Grill grilled salmon teriyaki
Ruby Tuesday’s turkey burger (with fries)
Starbucks’ grande 2% white chocolate mocha and a bran muffin with nuts
Uno Chicago Grill’s classic deep dish pizza (individual)

 
Now, let’s find out how you did

Answers:
Dunkin’ Donuts multigrain bagel with lite cream cheese:  490
Chili’s citrus fire chicken and shrimp fajitas:  1,360
Denny’s smoked sausage scramble:  1,480
Krispy Kreme’s whole wheat glazed donut:  180
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder (without cheese):  410
Panera Bread’s broccoli cheddar soup (8oz) in a sourdough soup bowl:  880
Romano’s Macaroni Grill grilled salmon teriyaki:  1,230
Ruby Tuesday’s turkey burger (with fries):  1,393
Starbucks’ grande 2% white chocolate mocha and a bran muffin with nuts:  900
Uno Chicago Grill’s classic deep dish pizza (individual):  2,310

If you got all answers right or made only one mistake, you are an exception. If you did not — don’t get depressed. Most people don’t. On average only half of the answers to this quiz are correct, significantly below the 90% target.

As you might have guessed by now, this was not just a test of your knowledge of calories but also a test of your confidence in your own knowledge. As this quiz shows, most of us are overconfident, thinking that we know more than we actually do.

© 2011 Alexander Chernev, author of The Dieter’s Paradox: Why Dieting Makes Us Fat

About the Author:
Alexander Chernev, author of The Dieter’s Paradox: Why Dieting Makes Us Fat, is a psychologist who is studying how people make choices. He holds two doctoral degrees: a Ph.D. in Psychology from Sofia University and a second Ph.D. in Business Administration from Duke University. He is a marketing professor at Northwestern University, where he teaches behavioral decision theory, marketing management and strategy, and consumer research.

Dr. Chernev has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Early Career Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association for his contribution to consumer psychology. His research has been published in leading psychology journals, and a recent survey ranked him as the most prolific scholar in the top marketing journals in the past 20 years. He has been widely quoted in the business and popular press, including Scientific American, Business Week, Forbes, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, andHarper’s Magazine.

He is not on a diet but often adds a healthy option to his meals.

For more information please visit Dieters Paradox, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Oliver Wilke