So I kept thinking and started wondering what if a person could only eat sunflower seeds? Those are far more nutritionally rich than bamboo but it takes some time to extract them from their shells. It's kinda like how you see gorillas fishing for termites with twigs. How much time would the average person have to spend eating if all they could eat were sunflower seeds in the shell? Obviously we're not talking a fully balanced diet here and God only knows what sort of sicknesses you'd come down with eating nothing but sunflower seeds, but just to meet your caloric needs.
Most stupid ideas you entertain for a short bit but then toss away. For some reason I got it into my head to actually try this. I went downstairs and started rummaging for a measuring device. I was hoping for a 1/4 cup or maybe even a tablespoon, but all I could find was a 1 cup measuring container.
So I scooped up a cup of sunflower seeds and retreated back upstairs to count them.
I counted out the whole lot into another container and it was hardly a fun time. In case you were curious, there were 430 sunflower seeds in a cup. There were also 5.75 (Yes there was a half and a half of a half in there) already shelled seeds in there. If we add it in and do some rounding, we get 436 sunflower seeds per cup.
Now, according to online sources, a cup of sunflower seeds have 268 calories. This means that each seed has a caloric value of .62kcal. Then it was back to the internet to figure out how many calories the average person consumes in a day. This was easy enough and revealed the following information:
Men in the United States generally consume between 2,000 and 2,800 calories a day. This figure, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, changes dramatically depending on your age. Men age 20 to 39 consume 2,800 calories a day. Men over 60 consume 2,000 calories. The average figure for all men is 2,475 calories
Women have a smaller average range of calorie intake than men. The smallest average requirement for women age over 60 is 1,500, whereas women between 18 and 59 usually consume 2,000 calories a day. The overall average daily intake for U.S. women 1,888 calories.
So I guess by this, since I am a 36 year old male, I should be downing 2,800 calories a day. In this little experiment it would mean that I would need approximately 4,516 sunflower seeds to meet my daily caloric requirements. First of all that sounds like a literal fuckton worth of seeds. I'm starting to feel sorry for those damn pandas.
Next, I need to find out just how many sunflower seeds I can shell and consume over a period of time. So I give it a whirl, testing myself a few times over the course of a minute. I wasn't racing but was methodical in grabbing, shelling, consuming, and then repeating the procedure. My results showed that on average, I could shell and eat 11 sunflower seeds a minute. I might have been faster if I had used both hands, but I only have one mouth so there's still a limiting factor.
At 11 seeds a minute, it would take me roughly 410.5 minutes, or 6.8 hours to consume the 4,516 nuts I would need to maintain a normal caloric intake. Mind you, this would be 6.8 hours of doing absolutely nothing else but concentrating on shelling and eating. My seed of consumption while dicking around on the internet probably falls to 2-3 seeds a minute or so.
So there you have it. If you were ever interested in life's big questions, like how many sunflower seeds are in a cup (an answer I couldn't freaking find an authoritative answer on from google) the answer is 436. And if you ate nothing but sunflower seeds, you would have to eat for 6.8 hours a day. Women would apparently having an easier time of it needing only 4.6 hours, but they'd probably just waste the extra on makeup or their hair or whatever it is that women do.
If I'm going to meet my quota for the day, this pile is going to have to get a lot bigger.