What’s the Difference Between Kcal and Calories?

What’s the Difference Between Kcal and Calories?

You might find these abbreviations of kcal and calories in all the nutritional labels. Most people think that both terms refer to a unit of heat measurement. But there is a very difference between kcal vs. calories. The first thing you should know is that one kcal equals 1,000 calories! So it’s not a massive difference though they might appear so at first glance.

When deciding which foods to eat or drink daily, it’s essential to understand what this means as some foods have more calories than Kcal while others have fewer Calories than Kcal per serving. In other words, some have more energy value- calories, than those with less energy value –kilocalorie.

The calorie, which most people now understand as a unit of heat or energy, is a kilocalorie. A large majority of the general public lacks knowledge about its proper usage. It makes sense- nothing in daily life distinguishes it from what they already know as calories.

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The confusion arises when you look at nutritional labels on food items, where both terms are used interchangeably, often causing some degree of misunderstanding. That’s not all! If you have ever wondered how many calories are in 1 kcal, then let us tell you here that it is equal to 1 kcal = 1000 cal or just simply 3.968 kcal per gram/serving size. Most people consider them interchangeable, but they are not the same.

Nicolas Clément first used the word calorie in 1824 to describe the heat produced by the reaction of certain substances with water after he discovered that “a burning candle reduced to ashes has a greater heating power than 100 times its weight of water”.

The term “calorie” is derived from “Calor,” which means heat or warmth. It wasn’t until much later, in 1897, when Wilbur Olin Atwater invented the Atwater System for calculating energy values of foods and diets, which included both Calories and kilocalories (the two terms are still often used interchangeably). As you may already know, our body converts food into energy required for our metabolism, measured in Calories.

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334 kcal to calories:

1,000 cal = 1 kcal

1,000 cal = 1 kcal 500 cal = 0.5 kcal

1 g of protein equals four calories. In other words, if there are 10 grams of protein in a food item, it contains 40 protein calories or 40 kcals from protein.

Carbohydrates and fat have each been assigned a value as well:

4kcal per gram for carbohydrates and 9kcal per gram for fat. So a typical chocolate bar with 240g of carbs and 48g of fat would yield the following values:

240g x4kcal/g=960kcal from carbs 480g x9kcal/g = 4320kcal from fat Total Calories= 5080kcal.

The formula for determining the number of calories in a specific food item is as follows:

(Total amount of fats x 9kcal/g) + (Total amount of carbs x 4kcal/g) + (Protein total x4 cal/g) = Total Calories.

Foods with high protein content include lean meats, poultry, fish, and soybeans. The best sources are proteins containing all nine essential amino acids, including sulfur-containing ones required by the body but cannot be synthesized. Significant Protein deficiency symptoms are stunted growth, poor muscle development or loss of weight, mental lethargy, and weakened immunity.

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What is the difference between kcal and calories when donated on food labels:

Kcal and Calories are almost the same units, but still, there is a difference.

You can see both Calories and Kcal mentioned on food labels on foods. According to the US FDA serving size for most products, the number of calories is how many kilocalories or kcal there would be after consumption, as reported by the manufacturer. So, for example, if a label says 20 Cal per bar, you should know that this means 20kcal – 1kcal= 19kcal will be available to your body after consuming it, so measure the amount accordingly.


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