The not-so-surprising finding: Above all else, we love little drops of chocolate and sugar
MyFitnessPal began as one couple’s effort to track calories and lose weight before their wedding day. Launched as a small calorie-counting website in 2005, the virtual food log has since exploded, adding apps, earning $18 million in venture capital funding in 2013, logging more than five million foods into its database, and attracting over 80 million users. Solidifying the website and app’s importance in the fitness world, Under Armour snatched up MyFitnessPal in February for a whopping $475 million.
Surely, Under Armour will mine its new consumer database for information that can help the company develop and sell merchandise to MyFitnessPal users. But in the meantime, MFP web statisticians have poured over three billion foods logged by U.S. members in 2014 to bring us something far more interesting: insight into our Peeps habits.
That’s right, MyFitnessPal knows—perhaps even better than Cadbury, See’s or Jelly Belly—exactly what type of candies we gobble around Easter. And when we reach for them.
“For every day of 2014, we counted up how many food entries contained the word ‘Peeps’ and divided that by the overall number of food entries for that day,” writes MyFitnessPal spokeswoman Andrea Toch of MFP’s research methods. “Voila! You have a measure of how popular Peeps were, relative to all of the other foods, logged on that day.” All data was analyzed in aggregate and is completely anonymous, she notes.
So without further ado, we present to you the Easter candy consumption of your fellow fitness fanatics. We’ll start with Jelly Beans.
Athletes will recognize the tiny sugar bombs as fuel; one bean is about four calories, and Jelly Belly sells a vitamin and electrolyte-laced version of the candy, called Sport Beans, in 100-calorie packs. Jelly Beans celebrate about “three-and-a-half months of seasonal popularity,” according to a MyFitnessPal press release, starting their rise in February, peaking on Easter Day, when consumption is up 1,152 percent above average, then petering out through May.
Peeps, on the other hand, are more like an earthquake—appearing fast and forceful on Easter Day, with small tremors lasting a few weeks after. Peeps consumption jumped 1,706 percent on Easter Day in 2014, compared to the rest of the year. (One marshmallow peep: 28 calories.)
Chocolate consumption, on the other hand, actually dips about six percent on Easter, likely because chocolate is not a seasonal treat; we eat it all the time. Chocolate is still the overall winner, though. Last Easter, MyFitnessPal says, “about 20 times as many MyFitnessPal diary entries mentioned chocolate as mentioned jelly beans.”
The type of chocolate consumed is where things get a bit more interesting. Chocolate eggs are decidedly more popular than chocolate bunnies, while chocolate protein shakes take an Easter nosedive. “Like jelly beans, chocolate eggs are eaten early and often, while chocolate bunnies are really only eaten on and right after Easter,” MyFitnessPal says. “But on that glorious day, chocolate bunnies do some serious spiking, up 2840% from average.”
In the end, MyFitnessPal offered some mildly scientific insight into our Easter candy consumption. Considering most of these foods are easily available at grocery stores and pharmacies across the country, the number crunchers concluded that what we eat on Easter is a true reflection of our preferences.
Therefore, above all else, we love little drops of chocolate and sugar. If you’re reaching for a chocolate egg or Jelly Beans this Easter, know you’re not alone. Also know that a single mini foiled chocolate egg will set you back 16 calories and one gram of fat, similar to a Hershey’s Kiss. The whole bunny will cost you 230 calories or more—unless you're dead set on demolishing the world's largest Easter bunny. Brazillians created the Guinness World Record-setting 8,488-pound monster last year out of 6,000 enormous chocolate bars. If we were to conservatively assume each bar had only 260 calories (the amount in a Hershey's milk chocolate bar), that bunny would set you back more than 1.5 million calories, and 42,000 grams of fat. Bon appétit.