Depending on where you live, the calorie content of food can be expressed as Kcal or kJ. But what is the difference between calories and Kcal? Find out more information here
What are the calories?
Calories are a measure of energy, which refers to the amount of energy in foods and beverages. It can also refer to the amount of energy you burn exercising. But here we will focus on the calories of food and how they are measured.
Calories are usually measured in kilocalories (kcal) and kilojoules (kJ), depending on the country. This usually generates doubts and confusion when it comes to counting calories or comparing the calorie contents of various foods and drinks.
Some things about calories you should know
1. Calories and kcal refer to the same amount of energy, but in the case of kJ, it is necessary to convert from calories to kJ.
2. To convert from calories to kJ, multiple calories by 4.18. Conversely, to convert from kJ to calories, divide kJ by 4.18.
3. Calories are divided into small and large. Manufacturers determine the number of calories a food or beverage contains based on the amount of energy-supplying nutrients it contains:
- 1 g of carbohydrates contains 4 kcal
- 1 g of protein contains 4 kcal
- 1 g of fat contains 9 kcal
How are these terms used?
Regulations in many countries require that food and beverage manufacturers inform in the products’ labels the nutritional information with the ingredients they contain. This is important for people who may need to avoid some ingredients due to an allergy, intolerance, or personal preference.
This is a list of some countries and how they labeled the calories:
- United States: Calories
- Canada: Calories
- European Union (EU): kJ and kcal
- Australia and New Zealand: kJ or both kJ and kcal
- China: kJ
How many calories should you intake?
It is advisable for adult women to consume from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, while men should intake between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day. However, not everybody needs the same number of calories each day: the calorie intake will also depend on several other factors such as weight, height, and overall general health. If you want to know more consult with a specialist.