# Does the average human eat their own body weight in food every month?

I read this comic: xkcd: The Race (Part 3), and felt the urge to shout "Cite your references!".

Is it true? Does the average human consume their body weight in food in just over a month?

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Well, I feel the urge to shout "Find a real notable claim!". xkcd in all honors, but it shouldn't count as notable. – Martin Scharrer Apr 17 '12 at 21:18
Well... it does have some Nerd cred and you can expect people to cite stuff they read on xkcd, under the assumption that a sciency guy such as Randall would know what he's talking about. – Lagerbaer Apr 17 '12 at 21:24
I think, however, this is not something where you'd have to dig for sources. Just analyze your own eating habit and do a rough order-of-magnitude calculation. Asking Wolfram Alpha what 300 slices of toast and 300 slices of cheese weigh together, that'd give 15 kg, which is off by a factor between 4 and 5 for me. – Lagerbaer Apr 17 '12 at 21:28
easy to investigate: get a kitchen scale and get a before and after for ever bit plate of food you eat (add snacks) until you get to your own bodymass, now you have 1 data point convince 10,000 random people to do the same and you have a half-decent study – ratchet freak Apr 17 '12 at 21:38
Hint for future answerers: EFSA – Oddthinking Apr 18 '12 at 0:23

According to a study by the clinical nutrition centre of Addenbrokes Hospital, Cambridge, UK measuring the food consumed by a random sample of the population of a Cambridge village:

The average weight of food eaten per day (excluding drinks) was 1277 g

That would give a month's weight of food as around 38kg. That's less than the average weight of a person, by a factor of around 2. I would expect an average British person to be eating significantly more than the average for people worldwide. They could be eating less than the average for the US, but I doubt it is by a factor of 2.

So no the claim is not strictly true. But an error by a factor of two is actually pretty good for a web comic, and might be just a case of artistic license

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To be fair, the exact quote is "That's only slightly faster than the human average." Seeing as "slightly" is undefined it does become a matter of scale. – Rob Z Apr 18 '12 at 3:40
Having visited America, I would say that portions being a factor of two larger is an underestimate; but a single holiday's eating is hardly representative. I was also going to mention that including drinks may top that up, but a quick estimate indicates that it would be considerably more. Thanks for your answer. – Stuart Pegg Apr 18 '12 at 7:21
@StuartPegg I am sure the Brits are just as guilty of gluttony during holiday gatherings. – maple_shaft Apr 18 '12 at 13:38
@maple_shaft: Sorry, to Americanise: "single holiday's eating" -> "single vacation's eating". It was a summer visit. :) But yes, Christmas is generally considered a time for stuffing yourself here too. – Stuart Pegg Apr 18 '12 at 14:49
Americans eat a lot more, but Americans also weight a lot more. And the myth is about amount of food in relation to own weight. – vartec Feb 7 at 9:53