The Last Gram

This morning I was eating my kids’ cereal and started reading the “Nutrition Facts” on the side panel. I noticed that each serving is 30g, which contains 26g Carbohydrates, 2g Protein and 0.5g fat. Add in another 500mg for Sodium, Potassium and the listed Vitamins and Minerals, and you get 29g. What constitutes the last gram?

probably water

Two possibilities come to mind. First, does it have added fiber, and is that listed? Fiber can be almost anything, but doesn’t typically have much nutritional value (the point is that it passes through undigested).

The other possibility is roundoff error. If I have 23.4 grams of A, 17.3 grams of B, and 12.3 grams of C, then that’s a total of 43 grams, but I might list that on the box as 23 g, 17 g, and 12 g, which apparently total 42 g.

The bellboy pocketed the extra gram, and everyone was happy.

I figured the water would be contained in other substances, like protein or fat, and that there wouldn’t be too much of it, anyway. Fiber is listed as a subcategory of carbohydrates (along with sugar and “other carbohydrates”). A rounding error sounds more likely, since they probably didn’t think anyone would try to balance a cereal box panel. However, I’ve taken a look at other cereals now and some have a variance up to 4g.

also there may be a measuring error. E.g some lab tech has to measure how much protein, carbohydrate etc is in each product. Each test may have a standard error. The other poss. is that it represents something that doesn’t show up in any of the tests - moisture, fibre, inorganic crud

Could it be food coloring, preservatives, and other additives that don’t fall into any of the above categories?

I guess it must be something like that. I had heard that the FDA can cite food processors for “unacceptable” levels of rodent hair & feces. It stands to reason that if there are “unaccepatble” levels, then there must also be acceptable ones…

The extra gram is love.