High School Physics

Counting food calories & energy unit

Here, we will discuss the Energy unit used while counting food calories.

When we eat food, we add energy to our system by taking in material that can release potential energy in chemical reactions. We often measure that energy in a unit called a Calorie. This unit is actually a kilocalorie, or 1000 calories.

The calorie counting that is done for food uses this unit:
1 Cal = 1 kilocalorie = 1000 cal
The capital C used in the abbreviation indicates that this is a larger unit than the ordinary calorie.

Important points

  • Caloric values given for different types of food are the amount of energy these foods release when they are digested and metabolized.
  • This energy may be stored in various ways within the body, including fat cells.
  • Our bodies are constantly converting energy stored in muscles to other forms of energy.


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