After almost two years, the travel ban between the United States and the United Kingdom has finally come to an end. With more tourists expected to explore the Big Apple and the Big Smoke, their trips will undoubtedly be full of delicious eats and trying out popular foods in both countries across the pond.
Alongside trying out iconic foods like corn dogs and clam chowder in the US and fish and chips and bangers and mash in the UK, tourists are also likely to want to try out the local snacks on offer. Whether it’s potato chips, chocolate or soda, vacations are ideal for grazing all day long.
But are portion sizes and calories the same for our snacks in the US and the UK? We looked at some of our favorite treats on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Lindor, Fanta and Doritos. We then compared the calories and product sizes, to give you a bit clarity on the snacks you might pick up while on your trip.
And this is what we found…
1 – Fanta Orange 2 Liter
US – 960 calories
UK – 380 calories
Difference: 580 calories
152.6% more calories in the US
This iconic citrus soda is universally popular, with a number of flavors across the world, including peach, lemon, mango and berry. But it’s orange flavor remains its most famous and sought-after when you’re looking for a refreshing drink.
For those who drink it in the US, they might be surprised to find a 2 liter bottle has an astonishing 580 more calories than the same bottle in the UK. Fanta orange is significantly brighter and a more radiant orange color in the US. The UK version also includes orange juice from concentrate while the US version does not, which could have something to do with the hike in calories.
2 – Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles
US – 880 calories per carton
UK – 1,246 calories per carton
Difference: 366 calories
29.4% more calories in the UK
Luxury chocolate brand Lindor is a firm favorite in both countries, especially as Christmas looms. In the UK, you can expect to get more truffles in your carton to satisfy your sweet cravings, with 14.5% more chocolates in a packet. But you’re also likely to consume more calories, with 366 extra in a UK carton.
There are also 155 more calories per 100g in the UK than there is in the US, so tourists visiting British shops can expect to consume more on average than in the American grocery stores.
3 – Haagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream tub
US – 825 calories per tub
UK – 1,159 calories per tub
Difference: 334 calories
28.8% more calories in the UK
Ice cream is an ideal snack – there’s an endless variety of flavors, it’s great to eat no matter the season, and it goes with so many sweet treats. American brand Haagen-Dazs has made a name for itself in both countries for its delicious tubs of ice cream, but cookies and cream is a firm favorite.
If you’re going to eat a scoop (or five) of this ice cream, you can expect to eat an average of 250 calories in the UK for every 100ml, 44 more than you would in the US. Tubs are also bigger over there, with Brits having an extra 67g of ice cream to enjoy – but with almost 30% more calories than American tubs.
4 – Heinz Tomato Ketchup
US – 116 calories per 100ml
UK – 102 calories per 100ml
Difference: 14 calories
14% more calories in the US
Whether you dollop it in one corner of your plate or put it all over your fries, ketchup makes so many things taste better and has saved many burnt fries or bland hot dogs.
If you’re in the US, you’re likely to consume slightly more calories per serving than in the UK. That’s despite the average bottle of ketchup being somewhat smaller in the US – 567g compared to the UK’s 700g.
5 – Snickers bar
US – 250 calories
UK – 245 calories
Difference – 5 calories
2% more calories in the US
The perfect combination of roasted peanut, caramel and chocolate, Snickers bars are the ultimate snack in both countries.
In America, you’re likely to get a little more bang for your buck, with the average Snickers bar weighing 52.7g compared to the UK’s 48g. However there are only five calories between each version, so lovers of the candy bar can rejoice everywhere.
6 – Doritos nacho/tangy cheese share bags
US – 1,500 calories per pack
UK – 900 calories per pack
Difference – 600 calories
66.6% more calories in the US
One of the most popular snack foods ever, Doritos have been around for generations. Nacho Cheese (or in the UK, Tangy Cheese) Doritos have the perfect cheesy seasoning and crunch which makes it very difficult to not finish the bag in one sitting.
Those eating the American version can expect to consume up to 600 more calories than the British equivalent, with the UK bag 78g lighter than the Nacho Cheese packet. There are 572 calories per 100g of Doritos in the US, whereas there’s around 500 calories of crisps in 100g of Doritos in the UK.
7 – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
US – 480 calories per 100g
UK – 542 calories per 100g
Difference – 62 calories
11.4% more calories in the UK
Peanut butter and chocolate is a winning combination, and Reese’s continues to give us new versions of candy which combine the two. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a staple in many of our households.
Looking at the share packets for these classic American snacks, you can see that the size of the US version is 30% bigger than sold in the UK, with 298g of Reese’s compared to a 226g pack in the United Kingdom. However per 100g, there’s actually 62 more calories in the UK packet.
8 – Lay’s Classic/Walkers Ready Salted
US – 564 calories per 100g
UK – 520 calories per 100g
Difference – 44 calories
8.4% more calories in the US
We’re sure you’ve noticed that the logos for Walkers and Lay’s are very similar – that’s because they’re essentially the same brand. Walkers was rebranded as Lay’s everywhere but in the UK when it was acquired by Frito-Lay in 1989.
In the US, classic Lay’s are approximately 24% smaller in size than the UK’s ready salted bags, however there are more calories in the US packets. For every 100g of chips (or crisps) there are 564 calories in Lay’s, but 520 in Walkers Ready Salted.
9 – Pringles Sour Cream and Onion
US – 577 calories per 100g
UK – 506 calories per 100g
Difference – 71 calories
14% more calories in the US
Another iconic potato chip – Pringles are a favorite in America and Britain for good reason – their iconic shape creates a unique snacking experience which many wish would never end. Sour Cream and Onion is one of the OG Pringles flavors, which holiday parties, BBQs and buffets are rarely without.
Despite the fact that you get more Pringles per tub in the UK (200g compared to 156g in the US), there are more calories per 100g in the American version. That is, unless you devour the entire tub – then you can expect to consume over 1,000 calories with the UK’s sour cream and onion. Oops.
10 – Peanut M&Ms
US – 1,540 calories per share bag
UK – 1,380 calories per share bag
Difference – 160 calories
11.6% more calories in the US
We’re noticing a peanut-related theme here. Another popular candy, these colorful hard-shell peanut chocolates can be found in any convenience or grocery store on either side of the Atlantic.
Depending on the size of your M&M packet, if you opt for a share bag (304g) in the US, you’re likely to consume 160 more calories than in the UK. Although that’s not the biggest – you can get a party size pack of peanut M&Ms which at 38oz (1,077g) would set you back 5,320 calories. Fancy splitting the bag?
If you think you may have an intolerance to peanuts or any other nuts, it’s worth considering a sensitivity test.
Kerri Ferraioli, nutritionist at YorkTest, said: “As the travel bans lift, we can expect many British and American tourists to start planning their next trip abroad. We all love snacks, they keep us going throughout the day and can provide energy and increase our nutrient intake.
“When you’re on vacation, it’s important to have fun and eat what makes you feel good. However some people may not be aware of the stark difference between product size and calories in both countries. Having a higher number of calories for a few days is fine, but over time it can increase your chances of gaining weight. When on vacation, we often want to try out all of the delicacies and snacks, so if you’re conscious of how much you’re going to consume, I’d suggest starting with smaller portions instead of omitting anything from your diet. This way, you get to sample even more foods and drinks!”
If you’re concerned that your gut health is not as it should be and a food sensitivity test could be an underlying issue, check out our premium food sensitivity test.
We have taken the data from the below sources, which are correct as of November 10 2021. Where exact size comparisons were unavailable, products were compared with the most similar product size.