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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Trick or Treat

October 30, 2009 —
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Each October around here, as we stare into the seemingly endless bowls of “fun-size” Halloween candies, we tell ourselves, “Oh, it’s just a bite!” Chances are some of those tempting treats will be the always-popular Snickers candy bars. But have you ever wondered just how much “fun” there is in a fun-size Snickers candy bar compared to a full-size one? And by fun we mean all the fun nutrition such as calories, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and so on. Being that we’re in the holiday spirit (or at least in the mood to eat candy), we want to share some fun comparisons for the Snickers bar we found in Wolfram|Alpha’s nutrition database.

Let’s enter the query, “Compare 1 fun size snickers v 1 regular snickers bar.” The output page shown below provides individual nutrition labels for the fun-size bar and the full-size bar, followed by comparison pods highlighting the difference in mean values and the percentages of daily recommended values for calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and sterols. It will also provide you with a comparison of the physical mass.

Click the image to see a full breakdown:

Comparing nutrition facts of a fun-size Snickers bar and a full-size bar

According to Wolfram|Alpha, that 0.53 oz fun size will only cost you 71 calories, compared to 278 calories in a full-size bar. So, naturally, your next query might be something like this:

Comparing nutritional facts of 3 fun-size Snickers bars to 1 full-size bar

Computing the nutritional values of candy is just one of the ways you can use Wolfram|Alpha to track your dietary intake. You can consult Wolfram|Alpha when you need to calculate the nutritional value of your lunch, or of the ingredients in a homemade recipe. Our data curators have been busy tagging over 7,000 food entities that are listed in the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference and other food databases. Once a food entity is placed into our nutrition bank, rules and algorithms are applied to help categorize it by typical attributes (e.g. raw, boiled), units (e.g. cups, tablespoons), and unique serving forms (e.g. slices, pieces). Because of the abundance of food types, some brand-name foods may not yet be available.

So next time you find yourself having a food-comparison debate, consult Wolfram|Alpha. Even if you think you’ve eaten a “ton of Snickers.”