What is a calorie?

What is a calorie? A calorie is a unit used to measure heat. By definition, 1 calorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius or 33.8 Fahrenheit.

To help you visualize how big is 1 gram of water, take 1 liter of water and make 1000 portions with it. This may take a long time.

1 portion is 1 gram of water. If you put this in a teaspoon, it will occupy one-fifth of the space in that teaspoon.

1 kilogram  = 1000 grams

1000 grams of water = 1 liter of water

1 kilogram of water = 1 liter of water

1 kilocalorie = 1000 calories

1000 calories means that 1000 grams or 1 kilogram of water raised to 1 degree Celsius.

Therefore, 1 kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise 1 kilogram or 1 liter of water by 1 degree Celsius.

What is a Calorie?

Notice this time that Calorie starts with a capital letter. Both are units of energy. However, there is a difference between calorie and Calorie.

Calorie is the unit used by the food industry to measure the energy released as heat in your body when you consume food.

1 Calorie = 1 kilocalorie = 1000 calories

Be careful not to confuse 1 Calorie with 1 calorie. Again they are not the same.

Since heat is a form of energy, we can also use joules to measure heat

1 calorie  =  4.184 joules

1 Calorie = 1000 × 1 calorie 

1 Calorie = 1000 × 4.184 joules

1 Calorie  = 4184 joules

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