How many calories do we consume on Thanksgiving? Not as many as you think

It happens every year.

Someone shows up on your TV telling you that the average person consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. (The Calorie Control Council is one of the most cited sources for said number).

Some fret about the number. Others could care less. And eventually, some dietitian will show up to suggest healthier options for those worried about their diet.

But that 4500 number seems rather arbitrary...and as Tara Parker-Pope at the New York Times figured out, "arbitrary" is the right word to use when you start doing the math.

Here's what she piled on her virtual plate:

â?¢ A six-ounce serving of turkey with the crispy skin on, including 4 ounces of dark meat and 2 ounces of white for a total of 299 calories.

â?¢ Sausage stuffing at 310 calories â?? go big or go home, right?

â?¢ Dinner roll with butter for 310 calories

â?¢ Two kinds of potatoes are always in order during the holidays: Big serving of mashed sweet-potato casserole made with butter, brown sugar and topped with marshmallows for 300 calories per serving, and a half-cup of mashed potatoes for 140 calories of starchy goodness.

â?¢ Green bean casserole at 110 calories for 2/3 cup, cranberry sauce at 15 calories and roasted brussels sprouts (veggies!) for 83 calories.

â?¢ Then thereâ??s pie that has to get shoved in there â?? pumpkin pie at 316 calories per slice, pecan pie for 503 calories and lots of whipped cream on all of that at 100 calories.

If you don't have a calculator worries. That magnificent work of gluttony on a plate only adds up to 2,486 calories.

Few would argue the meal listed above would be short-changed in any way. Nap-inducing goodness in anyone's book.

Parker-Pope says, "The point is I had to work pretty hard to finding enough servings of fat-laden, sugary foods to get to about 2,500 calories. Throw in a few glasses of wine, breakfast and some snacks and itâ??s certainly possible to binge your way to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, but Iâ??m not convinced itâ??s as common as the diet food companies would like us to believe."

Do you count calories on Thanksgiving Day? Or do you subscribe to the "Everything has zero calories on Thanksgiving" mentality?