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How do they calculate calories?

Like when you're looking at a food label, do you ever wonder how they know the precise amount of calories that are in that food? I've always wondered this.


Asked by SweetLoveofMine at 2:33 AM on Jan. 27, 2011 in Food & Drink

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Answers (3)
  • I'm not sure of the precise procedure but it has something to do with burning the food and seeing how much heat it gives off. Calories are determined by how much energy it takes to heat a certain amount of water. (I vaguely remember this from Physics class)! lol

    Answer by 5BabyBees at 7:50 AM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • From
    The amount of food energy associated with a particular food could be measured by completely burning the dried food in a bomb calorimeter, a method known as direct calorimetry.[5] However, the values given on food labels are not determined this way, because it overestimates the amount of fuel that actually enters the blood through digestion because it also burns the indigestible dietary fiber so that not all food eaten is actually absorbed by the body (fecal losses). Instead, standardized chemical tests or an analysis of the recipe using reference tables for common ingredients[6] are used to estimate the product's digestible constituents (protein, carbohydrate, fat, etc.). These results are then converted into an equivalent energy value based on a standardized table of energy densities.[7][8]

    Answer by SWasson at 9:01 AM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • Interesting to read! I have always wondered that.

    Answer by MyGiftsFromGod at 1:54 AM on Jan. 28, 2011

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