Fast facts on the food scene 

Your handy index for inspired eating

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Here we all go. Intractable holiday poundage that simply won't go away along with equally intractable New Year's resolutions which continue to haunt us right up until about Valentine's Day. Round about then we all call it quits and eat what we damn well please.

To accompany our collective obsession with all things food that accompanies the changing of the calendar, here's a handy index, with apologies to Harper's Magazine.

It should stand you well through the opening chapters of the New Year, both in keeping good intentions and keeping up good conversations around the dinner party table. You never know when a quick snippet of a fact will pique curiosity during post-holiday soirées, when we all need a pick-me-up for the winter blues.

All the best of the New Year to you, whatever parameters you set.

Number of food categories in the Canadian Food Price Index basket of food purchased from stores: 19.

Number of beverage categories in the index: 1.

Percentage increase over 2002 prices for B.C. in food prices for 2014 (the last year for which stats are available): 18.9.

Percentage increase over 2002 prices for Canadian food prices in 2014: 25.2

Percentage increase for Canadian food prices in November 2015 over 2002: 41.6.

Amount that the average food bill will go up in Canada in 2016 over 2015 prices, according to The Food Institute in Guelph, Ont.: $345.

Number of calories in 100 grams of kale, one of the top trending food items in 2015: 49.

Amount of potassium — important for healthy nerve function especially with stress — that's contained in 100 grams of kale: 491 mg, or 14 per cent of your daily requirement.

Amount of vitamins A and C in 100 grams of kale: 199 and 200 per cent of your daily requirements, respectively.

Number of calories in 100 grams of Brussels sprouts, another of the top trending food items in 2015: 42.

Amount of potassium contained in 100 grams of Brussels sprouts: 389 mg, or 11 per cent of your daily requirement .

Amount of vitamins A and C in 100 grams of Brussels sprouts: 15 per cent and 141 per cent of your daily requirements, respectively.

Number of calories in 100 grams of dark chocolate: 546.

Amount of potassium contained in 100 grams of dark chocolate: 559 mg, or 15 per cent of your daily requirement.

Amount of iron and magnesium (which, sufferers of osteoporosis take note, is important for bone health as well as heart health) contained in 100 grams of dark chocolate: 44 per cent and 36 per cent of your daily requirements, respectively.

Year first Canada Food Guide was launched: 1942 (during the Second World War).

Proportion of Canadians who can name the four food groups in the Canada Food Guide: less than half.

Number of people expected to sign up for Veganuary, marking its third anniversary this January: 50,000.

Proportion expected to remain vegans after January: About half.

Number of people who signed up for the first Veganuary: 3,000.

Amount of caffeine in a can of Red Bull and of Monster Energy: 80 mg and 160 mg, respectively.

In a Starbucks espresso: 150 mg.

Amount of caffeine in a 30-gram (one-ounce) piece of unsweetened chocolate: About 30 mg.

In a tablespoon of cocoa powder: 20 mg.

Ratio of cocoa powder that contains antioxidant phenolic compounds: eight per cent, by weight.

Century that the recipe for waffles came to North America from Holland: 1700s.

Year that Le Cuisinier françois was published, with its recipe for Waffles of Milk or Cream: 1651.

Temperature threshold for cold smoking fish: Below 32°C.

High temperature threshold for hot smoking fish: Boiling point, or about 100°C.

Amount of time needed for preparing katsuobushi, a preserved fish that's a cornerstone of Japanese cooking: three - five months.

Amount of time, on average, needed to digest fish: 30 to 60 minutes.

To digest pork: four and a half to five hours.

To digest brown rice and apples: 90 and 30 minutes, respectively.

Average increase in size of cookie products in the U.S. over USDA standards, from the 1970s to 2002: 700 per cent.

Size of the world's largest pizza (made in Italy, of course): 1,261.65 m² (13,580.23 ft²).

Sources: Statistics Canada; CBC News; Wikipedia; The Vancouver Sun; The Guardian; Center for Science in the Public Interest; On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee; The Sudbury Star, US National Library of Medicine, Guinness World Records.

Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning journalist who swears she won't put on weight over the holidays — and swears when she does.

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