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Michael Phelps Calorie Costs: Talk About Food Inflation!

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is featured on a special-edition box of Wheaties. (AP Photo courtesy of General Mills)
AP
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is featured on a special-edition box of Wheaties. (AP Photo courtesy of General Mills)

Many Americans are more surprised by Michael Phelps' calorie count than his medal count. This guy with no body fat consumer as much as 12,000 calories a day. That's the total equivalent for a family of five. Or six.

We decided to tally the cost. Our "mission impossible" regarding Mr. Phelps, should we choose to accept it, was to figure out how much more it costs to buy the raw ingredients for his daily diet now compared to the last Olympics four years ago.

We used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a start. In the past four years the price of bread has doubled, same with pasta, tomatoes, and ham. Egg prices have tripled, and Michael Phelps breaks a dozen eggs a day, according to published reports about his diet.

We went to the grocery store and spent $84.08 for the raw ingredients and then pro-rated the prices based on a daily portion.

Breakfast: three fried egg sandwiches with tomato, lettuce, cheese, mayo, plus a five-egg omelet, grits, french toast, chocolate chip pancakes (man, the cholesterol!), and two cups of coffee.

Price in 2004: $8.33 (plus the cost of grits and onions and vanilla and salt--no data on those)

Price in 2008: $11.30, a 36 percent jump (plus $3.30 for grits, etc.)

By the way, anyone notice he doesn't eat Wheaties for breakfast? Even though he cut a deal to end up on the cereal box after the 2004 Athens Games. (see image)

Lunch: a pound of pasta with tomato sauce, two ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo, two energy drinks

Price in 2004: $3.79 (no data on energy drinks)

Price in 2008: $6.39, a 69 percent jump (plus $3.50 for two energy drinks)

Dinner: another pound of pasta with tomato sauce, 6-8 slices of pizza, two energy drinks

Price in 2004: $7.33 (no data on energy drinks)

Price in 2008: $10.58, a 44 percent jump (plus another $3.50 for drinks)

TOTAL FOR ONE DAY:

2004: $19.45 (minus drinks, grits, etc.)

2008: $28.27, a 45 percent jump

But if you add the price of drinks and grits and other sundry items, the current total for feeding Michael Phelps one day is $38.57. Over one month--30 days--that's $1,157.10. I sure hope his mother is buying in bulk.

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