How Do You Measure A Calorie?
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Do you ever find yourself standing in line at a coffee shop or restaurant with a large display board that lists all the available foods and beverages along with their calorie content, trying to decide if you really want the large size fries with 490 calories or whether the medium size with 320 calories will feel satisfying? We think about calories in terms of body weight: eat fewer calories to lose weight, eat more calories to gain weight, run on the treadmill to burn more calories. But just what is a calorie?
What Are Calories?
A calorie is a measure of energy. More specifically, one calorie is the amount of energy it takes to heat one kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius at sea level. When scientists first started to measure the energy, or calories in food, they used a bomb calorimeter. A sample of food like that large portion of fries is placed into a metal container called a bomb. The bomb is filled with oxygen and placed in another container where it is surrounded by water. The researchers ignite the food with an electric current, the water absorbs the heat released as the food burns, and a thermometer measures the changes in temperature in the water. Finally, the calories are determined by calculating the change in water temperature multiplied by the volume of water.
Calories on Food Labels
The 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) required that food manufacturers put the amounts of nutrients and calories on the package label. Instead of using the bomb calorimeter method to establish calories in foods, manufacturers began using an easier process: the Atwater method.
Using this information we want to believe that the information on food labels is 100 percent accurate; but in reality, it is a compilation of best available data rounded to whole numbers. Yet you can still use calorie information to your advantage. Compare calories in similar foods, such as different brands of the same item. Use the calorie information on restaurant menus to choose meals and beverages that fit into your overall daily food needs.
Article Source: https://foodandhealth.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/minutes-agendas-newsletters
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