Hidden Calorie Countdown

Avoid sneaky calories that could wreck your diet

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Could your morning bagel or afternoon pick-me-up be sabotaging your diet? Hidden calories in many of today's most popular foods can derail even the most dedicated dieter or health-conscious eater.

You may know about the 580-calorie Big Mac, but how about the 700-calorie cup of coffee and 590-calorie muffin? Or the 660-calorie salad with 51 grams of artery-clogging fat?

Those are just some examples of the worst offenders. But by learning the calorie count of some common grab-and-go foods and adopting some simple preparation and ordering strategies, experts say you can banish many of the biggest diet busters.

Breakfast: When a Doughnut Might Be Better Than a Bagel

Having just a bagel or muffin at breakfast may sound innocent enough, but dietitians say the size of those breakfast staples has basically tripled in recent years in many cases.

Muffins that were once the size of tennis balls now more closely resemble softballs, and bagels have grown from about four inches in diameter to more than six. Of course, that means the calorie counts have also risen exponentially. For example:

  • Muffins. With 590 calories and 24 grams of fat, a Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Chip muffin makes a 200-to-300 calorie doughnut look relatively healthy. Even the reduced-fat blueberry muffin packs 450 calories.
  • Bagels. A traditionally sized bagel, like Lender's Original frozen bagels, has about 200-300 calories, but a fresh bagel from Starbucks or Dunkin Donut's now has more than 400 calories.