Hidden Calories, The Calories You Didn’t Know You Were Consuming

Hidden calories infographic

In this article I’m going to discuss why you need to be aware of hidden calories.

A lot of people say that you should intuitively eat. But I dont think this makes sense.

One reason for this is. Say you have a salad. And generally speaking the lettuce tomato etc are very low in calories. But if someone throws a gargantuan amount of extra virgin olive oil to that. Because “olive oils healthy” they can accidentally end up consuming an extra couple hundred calories.

Say you have this every day. And not only do you do this but end up making the other hidden calorie mistakes in which I allude to in the infographic at the top of the page.

Don’t Follow Susans Lead

To give you a basic example say that Susan gets up in the morning and has a couple of coffee’s with sugar, milk and cream. A tablespoon for each.

The couple of coffee’s on the morning mixed with sugar, cream and milk could easily add an extra 100-200 calories. Which is the equivalent to a medium jacket potato which would actually fill you up.

The next thing Susan does is eat a big salad and without her knowing accidentally puts 2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil because its healthy. (It is but you don’t need that much)

This adds 240 calories of fat to her healthy salad.

Next for afternoon snack Susan eats an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter or what she believes is a tablespoon of butter (it’s more like 2 or 3 tablespoons) because she doesn’t weigh it out. She just loves peanut butter. So she guesstimates it.

So dinner time is comes round and she goes out too eat and gets another salad but little does she know its covered in olive oil cheese and foods that are extremely palatable with the perfect bliss point of salt and fat.

Can You See Where Susans Going Wrong?

She also has a beer with that healthy salad because she thinks to herself” uhh I’ve been healthy all day so moderation I guess” and has the alcoholic beverage.

Then she wakes up after a few days of doing the same thing and getting frustrated at the seams.

She expresses anger and sadness because she’s not losing weight.

Well the one thing that Susan needs to focus on is a calorie deficit and controlling her calories and most importantly her hidden calories.

The hidden calories are the ones that I’ve just alluded to and the ones on the infographic.

I’m not saying that these calories are bad I’m merely reproaching you to more than anything. Be aware of the foods you eat.

There are some nasty downsides to being overweight and obese like :

And I want you to get to a healthy body fat percentage and live a healthy vast and meaningful life.

Yes it can be done.

So many people think “well I’ve just always been this size” or “I haven’t got good genetics I’ve always been this size”

No matter your size or where you are now.

You can absolutely get in incredible shape it just takes some hard work and perseverance.

This website is devoted for that sole purpose.

So we’ll dive deep on these form of hidden calories now.

1st Source Of Hidden Calories Nut Butters, Standard Butters And Spreads.

These hidden calories can easily deceive us. It can be easy to use way too much spread When preparing your toast or accidentally put too much nut butter on a tablespoon.

Most often people put double the amount of peanut butter on a tablespoon without even knowing it.

Yes peanut butter is tasty and good for you. Butters and spreads make out bread taste Nice and not as dry.

But how much we are consuming is more important than what we consume.

One simple tip that you can use to prevent yourself from over consuming calories is to:

Buy a scale

Put the butter or spread on the scale and take the lid/ jar off.

Tare and set the scale.

Scoop the butter out of the tub or jar.

By doing this you will consume just the right amount.

And you’ll know if your having the right amount or not.

A good serving size is 15 gram or a tablespoon. Generally speaking for every tablespoon of butter and nut butter there will be 100 calories.

So a few of these daily and you’ve quite easily consumed a few hundred extra calories.

So be aware.

2nd Source Of Hidden Calories, Oils, Vegetable Oils, Olive Oil Coconut Oil Canola Oil Basically Any Oil.

These types of hidden calories are extremely subtle. Meaning that they can sometimes be hard to detect. Especially when eating out at restaurants.

The thing about oils is they don’t give the food any more volume/ size. But they do give it more calories.

The food size will stay the same but the calories have the potential to increase tremendously.

For example a traditional salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and balsamic vinegar with a small amount (5 g of olive oil). Would be considerably less calorie dense than one smothered with oil, ranch dressing and cheese. Which you can sometimes find at places where you would dine out.

My advice when dining out would Be to just enjoy dining out. Get something tasty. And get back on your diet plan the next day. Because a lot of salads are high in calories when you eat out.

But if your trying to lose weight I’d stay away from dishes that are fried, or covered in a rich creamy sauce.

try to look at the menu before you go.

Get an idea of what your going to have.

Make sure you account for the amount of calories that your going to eat . So that when you eat out. You don’t over consume.

And if you do over consume. Most importantly Just accept it and get back on track the next day.

And to avoid putting loads of oils on your foods. Use a tablespoon or use the same trick I gave you in hidden calorie source number 1.

3rd Source Of Hidden Calories, Sugary Sodas And Drinks

If you drink a lot of full sugar Pepsi or coke or other sugary sodas.

It’s probably not doing your weight loss/fat loss goals any favours.

For example 1x 250ml amount of cola has 105 calories.

For instance you have 5 of these daily. That’s 525 calories. This 525 calories on top of your maintenance calories would result in an average of 1 pound of fat gain per week.

Over the course of a year that’s 52 pounds of fat gained.

If you had an average total daily energy expenditure(tdee) of 2000 calories. And you were consuming this amount everyday this will result in your weight staying the same.

Say from that 2000 calories you were getting 525 calories from coke. If you just stopped consuming coke you would put yourself in a 500 calorie deficit. And lose a pound per week. Thus reversing the other equation and you could potentially lose 52 pounds a year.

Obviously depending on your current body fat levels you would need to decide what your fat loss goals are. Some people may need to lose that much but the example is illustrative.

An easy swap you can make for these drinks. Is to swap sugary sodas and drinks with diet sodas. Or just drink water, tea coffee, but not with heaps of milk, sugar or cream.

The research is fairly ambiguous about sodas.

They don’t seem to be bad for your health unless you consume gargantuan amounts of them.

Which seems to be over 20+ cans per day.

Which you will need to go out of your way to consume.

Likewise a really good article on this subject is below.

4th Source Of Hidden Calories, Beers Larger And Alcoholic Beverages

At 200+ calories per pint. It can be extremely easy to rack up the calories if you don’t account for these drinks.

If you go for a typical night out it’s not unheard of for some people to drink 5-10 pints.

Which obviously reeks havoc upon your health. Just to state some adverse effect of alcohol misuse look below.

Likewise some long term problems can cause.

  • family break-up and divorce 
  • domestic abuse
  • unemployment 
  • homelessness 
  • financial problems

Alcohol in moderation can be fine.

A beer or 2 on the weekend now and then is fine.

I just want to say that binge drinking isn’t healthy!

Binge drinking in men is considered 5 or more drink in a couple of hours. And for women it consists of 4 or more drinks in 2 hours.

I had to learn this the hard way.

So a simple parameter for how much alcohol you should drink would be 15% of your total daily calories. Which for a male who needs 2000 calories to maintain his weight (tdee) would be 300 calories.

So for this you could have a beer for 1 drink and a spirit with a mixer for the other and not experience any side effects at all the next day. Spirits can include vodka, gin, whiskey and you could have these with a blackcurrant/ lime and soda. Or you could have a diet drink like a Diet Pepsi to go with your spirit like a vodka and diet coke. Alternatively you could have a light beer like a bud light or a glass of wine.

5th Source, Added Sugar And Cream

So the final source of added sugar that isn’t accounted for is the notorious sugar.

In a single tablespoon of added sugar there is 50 calories so if you have 5 tablespoons of sugar that’s 250 calories and in 10 tablespoons of sugar you get 500 calories.

Obviously that’s quite a lot but its not unheard off.

Coffee and tea are extremely popular beverages and can taste like a desert if enough cream and sugar is poured into them.

And some people have numerous hot beverages a day.

One tablespoon of half half cream contains 20 calories so if you add the sugar and cream up over the course of a day you can easily accumulate numerous amounts of calories.

If you buy dessert coffees like a salted caramel mocha below you can consume enough calories in a single drink as you would in a reasonable size meal.

Hidden calories coffee

This picture above exemplifies what I’m trying to say.

All in all awareness is key. Therefore Know what you’re consuming.


To sum it up:

  1. Beware of the calories of nut butters and spreads. Put your jar/ tub on a scale and tare the scale on grams to make sure you know how much you are having.
  2. Beware of all oils (coconut oil isn’t that easy to overestimate because its solid at room temperature because it’s a saturated fat) Use the same trick that you use for spreads. Put the olive oil container on a scale tare the scale and pour and put it back on the scale. Alternatively you can use a tablespoon.
  3. Don’t have lots of sugary sodas/ drinks because you can pile the weight and calories on if you don”t account for the amount of calories you’re consuming. A fix for this would just be to have one sugary drink, or swap that one sugary drink for a diet soda or just drink water instead.
  4. Beware of hidden calories in alcohol. Limit the beer and larger and instead make spirits your preferred drink of choice, Things like vodka , gin, whiskey etc. Consume them with a mixer. Most importantly binge drinking was never good for anyone’s health and try and limit alcohol consumption to 15% of your total daily calories.
  5. Added sugar or cream. Therefore if your adding these hidden sources of calories to all of your hot beverages , cereals, and deserts your probably over consuming on a consistent basis. A quick swap for this can be a natural sweetener like stevia or truvia. Alternatively you can use any sweetener you like they are all low calorie. But the research shows that you need a fairly large amount of artificial sweetener’s like aspartame before there’s a chance for them to put your health at a disadvantage (20+ cans of Diet Coke.)

If you would like to calculate your fat loss calories I have a free ebook here.

If you’d like to see the video version of this article click below.


Thanks for reading!

Published by henrypaget

Hi, I'm Henry and it's my mission to help you succeed with your fitness & health.

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