We all know fast food contains a lot of energy (kilojoules). But enough to power a car? Watch our experiment to find out.

Kilojoules are a measure of the energy in food and drinks, which is something we all need to keep our bodies functioning. Your body naturally burns energy when it undertakes any sort of activity, from playing sport to watching TV.

But it’s easy to consume too many kilojoules. If you consume more than your body burns in a day, the spare energy is stored as fat and can contribute to weight gain. In the short term this may make you feel tired and unfit. In the longer term, you may end up with chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.

The average daily energy intake in Australia is 8,700kJs. But we’re all different. The number of kilojoules you need will vary depending on your age, gender, weight and level of physical activity. You can find out your healthy daily kilojoule intake using our kilojoule calculator at: Kilojoule calculator.

0:00 We’re in the midst of an obesity crisis.
0:02 The World Health Organisation has called it a global epidemic.
0:06 In Queensland, 2.5 million of us are classed as either overweight or obese
0:11 In order to truly appreciate the effects food and kilojoules have on our bodies
0:16 (kilojoules equal energy we get from food and drink)
0:18 …we thought we’d take a look at the effect they have…
0:21 on a car.
0:22 ‘The car that fast food drove’
0:26 (Hilary Jimmieson – clinical dietician)
0:28 Kilojoules are a measure of how much energy people get from consuming food and drink.
0:32 (Paul Ellis – consulting engineer)
0:34 Cars expand energy, just like anything else.
0:37 an engine’s output is measured in kilowatts, and that’s just kilojoules per second.
0:40 Ok, here we go. It’s moving.
0:42 Now we’re testing a typical burger meal from a fast food joint.
0:46 Burger, chips, soft drink and a sundae.
0:48 (this burger meal contains 8,600 kilojoules)
0:50 We have 8,600 kilojoules, almost all of our average daily kilojoule intake.
0:54 (The average adult kilojoule intake is around 8,700kj a day)
0:56 (kilowatts = kilojoules per second)
0:57 So most of the energy our body needs, in a single meal.
1:01 Ok we’ve hit our cruising speed of 80 kilometers per hour
1:04 We’re a kilometer down and we’ve only used 1,500 kilojoules!
1:09 This is surprising.
1:13 Right, two kilometers, nearly 3000 kilojoules burned
1:17 Did you know? Unused kilojoules get stored as fat and can contribute to weight gain.
1:22 4 kilometers!
1:24 This is getting crazy
1:26 All from a single fast food meal that some of us eat multiple times a week – a day even.
1:35 Ok wow, we’ve just passed 5 kilometers.
1:43 Well, that is truly surprising.
1:47 We just drove a 1.2 tonne car, 5.94 kilometers using the energy found in a fast food burger meal.
1:54 We eat this stuff all the time and it’s enough to power a car.
1:58 Unbelievable!
2:00 (This burger, chips, drink and sundae can power a 1.2 tonne car 5.94km.)
2:03 (can power a human body through 8 hours of weight lifting)
2:08 (Do you need that much energy?)
2:10 (Can you burn it off?)
2:11 (Find out your healthy daily kilojoule intake at healthier.qld.gov.au)