Calorie vs Kilocalorie

Why do food nutrition panels and Treadmill/Heartrate monitors use Calories and kilocalories so interchangeably with scant respect for the SI prefix kilo- ? Is this intentionally misleading figures on labels?

A Calorie is the same thing as a kilocalorie.

A calorie, however, is not.

Edit: To be more clear, Calorie with a capitol ‘C’ means 1000 calories, ie a kilocalorie. The original Calorie was based off of a kilogram, but I think later when the SI system was more formalized, they went with grams, since it’s “easier,” or what have you, since everything is a base unit. One gram of water raised by one degree Celsius.

Naturally, this then caused confusion and now we have calorie and Calorie.


How many calories are in a cALoRie? :confused:

What food labels list as “Calories” are actually kilocalories.

I know. It’s HaRd.

I’m fairly certain now the conversion goes like this:

1 caLorie = 1 bazillion calories
1 caloriE = 1 gizillion calories
1CaLoRiE = 1.234 x e^-23 calories

why gawd whyy!

The small-c calorie is a measurement of heat used in physics.

The capital-C Calorie is equivalent to a kilocalorie (1000 physics calories) and is a measurement yaed in nutrition.

maybe I should restate my question… :

I understand the difference between the calorie with a small c and Calorie with a capital C, and their relationship with Kilocalorie. I’d like to know how a Calorie came to be the same as a Kilocalorie… completely disregarding the fact that kilo- is standardized to mean 1000x

Oh no, someone isn’t respecting le Système international d’unités? CALL THE Système international d’unités POLICE!

Oh wait, they’re all on paid vacation smoking cigarettes and eating cheese. Tough luck.

hehe, American?

A kiloCalorie = a megacalorie

It’s like on a computer a terabyte of space on a hard drive is really 931 gigabytes

And if you dowload at 5000kbs it is the same as 625KBs

In the first case, that is because the hard drive makers use the SI prefixes correctly, ie giga = 1 billion, tera = 1 trillion, ect, while Microsoft uses them incorrectly; MS goes by giga = 2^30, tera = 2^40, ect. Apple and various Linux distros either use the SI prefixes correctly, or use the Binary Prefixes created ten years ago to end this ambiguity. To bad they aren’t more commonly used.

As for the second case, there are normally 8 bits in a byte, with lower and uppercase “b” used to stand for each one respectively. Naturally ISPs advertise using the bits number, since it lets use a bigger number while still being honest.

Goinhg back to Calories, the bottom line is the public is butt-ignorant and utterly untrainable. You can add new things to their repertoire, like how to operate an iPod, but you could never introduce something called iPod which worked totally differently. The herd can’t do change

So when the physicists redefined “calorie” from mks to cgs, The nutritionists were stuck. they settled on C calorie. Which worked OK when it was all new & everybody remembered there was an old.

30+ years later, the significance of th eupper case C is utterly lost on thepublic at large. So now you have to decide which calorie / Calorie people mean from context. Just like when a Brit says he wants a pint he’s not talking about the same quantity as when an American says he wants a pint.

It was the usage already engrained in our culture long before the SI system was officially adopted in 1960. Large C Calories were used just so ordinary people didn’t have to deal with large numbers. History and inertia always win.

Besides, Nabisco 100,000 calorie packs didn’t do well in test marketing.

Tell me about it. People hate proper nouns these days. Trying to remind people it isn’t ‘the internet’, it is ‘the Internet’ gets met with blank stares.

You betcha.

Well, the pound (a scientific unit of force) is officially defined as a certain weight in kilograms (a scientific unit of mass). So, it wouldn’t be unusual that the civilian “calorie” is actually a scientific kilocalorie.

Your weight in pounds can vary depending upon the force of gravity. You weight 180 pounds on Earth, and you weigh about 30 pounds on the moon. Your mass in Kilograms won’t vary. You’ll have a mass of 82 kilograms on the earth and a mass of 82 kilograms on the moon. (Newton is the unit of force in SI and Slug is the unit of force in the PFS system of measurement).

In consumer-purchasable food, a calorie (lowercase, uppercase, or whatever) always refers to a kilocalorie because a normal lowercase calorie is just too irrelevant to dietary needs. You can eat 999 small-c calories if you want but you’ll probably just burn that much energy swallowing it in the first place.

(IANABiologist who has actually measured the calorie consumption of swallowing).

How much is an American expecting?