# 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?

• Well, I feel the urge to shout "Find a real notable claim!". xkcd in all honors, but it shouldn't count as notable. Apr 17, 2012 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. Apr 17, 2012 at 21:24
• Mr. Munroe's work does tend to be well-researched and thorough: xkcd.com/1040 Apr 17, 2012 at 21:25
• 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. Apr 17, 2012 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 Apr 17, 2012 at 21:38

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

• 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. Apr 18, 2012 at 7:21
• It also depends on the water content and energy density of the food you eat. For instance, I eat two salads per day with a total mass of about 1 kg. Add in snacks and an extra meal or two and I'm sure I eat at least 1.5 to 1.75 kg per day. Sep 5, 2012 at 20:25
• 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. Feb 7, 2013 at 9:53
• To be fair, there is a joke in the claim. The Summer Glau figure says, "I eat my body weight in food every 31 days." She is a smaller than average person (52kg), so all she would have to do is eat 1677g a day. Jan 21, 2016 at 21:58
• My 2 cents. She might be including liquids' weight in the daily eating, I guess that counting liquids the amount can easily increase by another 1500g Aug 14, 2017 at 21:48