Keeping track of calories is helpful when losing weight, but many have wondered if calories actually ever expire. Do calories expire?
Calories do not expire. Overall, a calorie is a calorie and it does not matter how old the calorie is, it does not change its composition if the food is not decomposed.
However, if a certain food is aged to the point of decomposition, of course it will not contain calories that are consumable, as it is broken down to a large extent.
Let’s discuss this a little bit more in depth and explain how eating expired foods will not save you any calories when trying to lose weight.
Does Food Lose Calories When it Expires?
Many people incorrectly believe that the older a certain food gets, the less calories it has, and they can eat more of it. This is not the case.
While some foods may indeed lose a significant number of calories when they go bad, we will not be consuming them at this stage of decomposition.
It also depends on the type of food in question. For example, cooked meats and seafood are generally very high in protein and fat, both of which are calorie dense nutrients.
As these foods eventually rot, they tend to lose a lot of water weight as their composition changes, As a result, their calorie counts decrease significantly as their mass is smaller.
On the other hand, processed grains like bread and pasta are typically lower in water content to begin with, so they don’t have as much to lose when they go bad and could potentially grow mold instead.
In fact, in some cases, the calorie counts of these foods can actually increase as they mold and grow bacteria.
So ultimately, just because you are choosing to eat a certain food because it is a week past its expiration date does not mean it is lower in calories.
Also, a reasonably prudent person would never consume foods that are expired to the point they are growing a shelf of mold on the top of them.
Eating Expired Sweets Will Not Decrease Calorie Content
If you love to indulge on Twinkies or Chips Ahoy, waiting until they are past their expiration date will not decrease their calorie content. These snacks will contain the same amount of calories when they are fresh as when they are past their expiration date.
It is easy to fall for this lie, but I promise it will only deceive you. Let me tell you why.
Most prepacked snacks and cookies such as these have a very high shelf life, this is because they do contain preservatives and also contain chemical derivatives of butter and eggs.
Homemade cookies and cakes would never last this long, because they contain organic ingredients.
You are still able to enjoy these snacks, as long as you accurately fit them into your calorie deficit calculations.
Losing weight should not equal sacrificing foods or snacks you love, so do yourself a favor and just eat these snacks fresh. It is certainly possible to lose weight and body fat effectively while also enjoying your favorite snacks.
Will Eating Expired Foods Help me Lose Weight?
No, eating expired foods will not help you lose weight, this is because the food still contains the overall same amount of calories.
Expiration dates placed on foods are designed for freshness, not food spoilage.
These dates are put on the food to let you know that it is best to consume it by a certain date to benefit from it’s peak freshness, texture, and taste.
The foods still contain the same amount of calories even after the expiration date for a period of time, until they start to decompose.
You will likely not be eating these foods once they start to decompose, so there is no benefit to eating a certain food after it’s expiration date to save on calories.
Avoiding Becoming Ill From Expired Foods
While it is generally safe to eat foods that have surpassed their expiration date, this is not recommended if you can help it.
Many dairy foods, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs are good for about 1 week past the sell by date. Eggs will last weeks past this date.
You want to make sure you are preventing illness. You can do this by simply inspecting the food.
You can look for things such as:
- Changes in color
- Off smells
- Slimy texture
These are all signs that the food has gone bad and is no longer safe to consume. If you see any of these signs, it is best to discard the food. Do not consume it or attempt to rehabilitate the food in order to save on calories.
To be on the safe side, always cook meat and seafood thoroughly before consuming, as these foods are more likely to harbor bacteria that can make you sick.
It is important to note that just because a food has expired does not necessarily mean it will make you ill.
However, it is always best to play it safe when it comes to your health and avoid eating foods past their expiration dates.
Can I Die if I Eat Expired Food?
You are not likely to die if you eat expired food, but you do have the chance of getting very ill.
The following foods should never be consumed if they are thought to be spoiled:
- Meats such as chicken, fish, and red meat
If you suspect any of these meats are bad, please do yourself a favor and throw them out.
Some meats, especially meats that have been in a deli case, have the potential to carry listeria.
Listeria can make you very sick, and in pregnant women can do harm to the fetus. Always make sure your meat is fresh. When in doubt, throw it out.
Milk that is spoiled can form bacteria, which can make you very sick with GI upset. While you will get severely nauseated and possibly vomit, you are not likely to die.
Keep yourself on the safe side and only drink fresh milk.
Eggs have the potential to last for weeks, but if they are handled improperly, contaminated and are spoiled can contain bacteria that can make you sick. A quick tip to know if an egg is bad is to see if it floats. If it floats, toss it!
Calories do not expire for foods that are still edible past their expiration date, so do not rely on eating expired foods as a way to decrease calorie consumption.
Be smart and safe as it relates to eating expired foods, especially dairy and meats such as poultry, beef, or fish. If it does not look good or smells funny, TOSS IT.
You do not want to risk getting sick in order to save on calories or money.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to check out some more helpful posts below!