How Many Calories Do You Consume While Licking a Stamp?

Postage stamps from USA 1960's
Postage stamps on a table. (Image: Sitikka/iStock/Getty Images)

Licking the back of a postage stamp may seem a perfectly innocuous activity for calorie-counters and dieters, but lick enough of them and the calories may start to add up, especially if the stamps are British and larger than normal.

British vs. American Stamps

The calorie content in the adhesive on the back of a U.S. postage stamp works out to about one-tenth of a calorie, according to nutritional information from the United States Postal Service posted on the DietFacts.com website. British stamps, on the other hand, contain about 5.9 calories per lick; the adhesive on a larger commemorative or special British stamp contains a whopping 14.5 calories.

Type of Adhesive

Lick-and-stick British postage stamps use an adhesive gum made from starch, or dextrin, and a petroleum-derived synthetic alcohol, or polyvinyl alcohol, states the "Guardian" website. U.S. postage stamp adhesive also uses dextrin or a synthetic emulsion.

FDA Approved

The Bindagraphics website says that the adhesive on lick-and-stick postage stamps is the only glue that must have the Food and Drug Administration’s seal of approval.

Fun Fact

As stated in the August 11, 2004, article “The Secret World of Stamps” in London’s “The Mirror,” Dean Gould of Felixstowe, Suffolk, England, made stamp-licking history in 1995 by licking 450 stamps and sticking them to envelopes in a mere four minutes. Using the current 5.9 calorie content the adhesive on an individual British postage stamp, Gould consumed 2,655 calories from stamp adhesive alone.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.