Monday, July 31, 2006

How do food manufacturers calculate the calorie count of packaged foods?

Just thought it was interesting, you could check the calculation on the food labels....
written by:
S. Connery
Friday Harbor, Wa.

Jim Painter, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, explains.
In order to answer this question, it helps to define a calorie. A calorie is a unit that is used to measure energy. The Calorie you see on a food package is actually a kilocalorie, or 1,000 calories. A Calorie (kcal) is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. Sometimes the energy content of food is expressed in kilojoules (kj), a metric unit. One kcal equals 4.184 kj. So the Calorie on a food package is 1,000 times larger than the calorie used in chemistry and physics.

The original method used to determine the number of kcals in a given food directly measured the energy it produced.The food was placed in a sealed container surrounded by water--an apparatus known as a bomb calorimeter. The food was completely burned and the resulting rise in water temperature was measured. This method is not frequently used today.

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) currently dictates what information is presented on food labels. The NLEA requires that the Calorie level placed on a packaged food be calculated from food components. According to the National Data Lab (NDL), most of the calorie values in the USDA and industry food tables are based on an indirect calorie estimation made using the so-called Atwater system. In this system, calories are not determined directly by burning the foods. Instead, the total caloric value is calculated by adding up the calories provided by the energy-containing nutrients: protein, carbohydrate, fat and alcohol. Because carbohydrates contain some fiber that is not digested and utilized by the body, the fiber component is usually subtracted from the total carbohydrate before calculating the calories.

The Atwater system uses the average values of 4 Kcal/g for protein, 4 Kcal/g for carbohydrate, and 9 Kcal/g for fat. Alcohol is calculated at 7 Kcal/g. (These numbers were originally determined by burning and then averaging.) Thus the label on an energy bar that contains 10 g of protein, 20 g of carbohydrate and 9 g of fat would read 201 kcals or Calories. A complete discussion of this subject and the calories contained in more than 6,000 foods may be found on the National Data Lab web site at At this site you can also download the food database to a handheld computer. Another online tool that allows the user to total the calorie content of several foods is the Nutrition Analysis Tool at

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Psalm 84

Interesting: Baca is old name of Mecca. And Hajar discovered the well (wife of Abraham), and AbdulMuttalib rediscovered it (the well of Zam Zam, which remains to this day and hajj pilgrims often bring back water from), and the psalm could fit either of them......

(From National Geographic RSS)
It's not the end of the world, experts announced today. The opening passage of a thousand-year-old Christian prayer book discovered in Ireland does not say that doomsday is near.

When the medieval text—a Book of Psalms dated to about A.D.1000—was unearthed by a construction worker in a bog last week, archaeologists described the find as a miracle.
But the discovery has since met with some nervous speculation about its possible religious significance.

Doomsayers have focused on the passage that the 20-page text, written in Latin, was opened to when it was first uncovered: Psalm 83.
In the King James Bible, the psalm is a lament to God describing the attempts of nations to wipe out the name of Israel.

"Thine enemies … have said, Come, and let us cut [thy people] off from being a nation," the psalm reads, "that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.'"

Given the current conflict in Lebanon between Israeli troops and Islamic Hezbollah guerrillas, this detail struck some observers as particularly ominous.

"Mention of Psalm 83 has led to misconceptions about the revealed wording and may be a source of concern for people who believe Psalm 83 deals with 'the wiping out of Israel,'" officials at the National Museum of Ireland, where the manuscript is being kept, said in a statement today.

The true meaning of what the text reveals, they say, has been quite literally lost in translation.

"[We] would like to highlight that the text visible on the manuscript does NOT refer to wiping out Israel but to the 'vale of tears,'" the officials said.

The newfound prayer book, they explain, is an ancient Latin translation from the Greek known as the Vulgate. But the King James Bible, which was translated from Hebrew to English more than a thousand years later, assigns different numbers to the psalms.

So the Psalm 83 found in the Irish book, they say, appears in King James as Psalm 84, which is a song of praise and longing for godliness.

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee," the passage reads, "… who passing through the valley of Baca [the vale of tears] make[s] it a well."

The museum officials say they expect the difference speaks for itself.

"It is hoped that this clarification will serve comfort to anyone worried by earlier reports of the content of the text," they said.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Well the past few days I've been learning something new. My parents are putting new tile in the third level and I'm working to help them. It is hard work and it is important to have the right tools, but it is pretty neat.

Leaving Saturday for Orange County, due back next Thursday. Will try to check in.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Kellogg Reflector Travel Bug reached its goal!

Woo hoo!

Incidentally, at the dollar store today I found a bit of cool nostalgia - neon bicycle spoke pegs that dress up your bike and clank - so I got some for Sammy for her upcoming b-day - she just got my old banana seat bike a few weeks ago - with the bell still on it (ding ding!), but no longer with the cool handlebar streamers or basket that both passed away at some point long ago...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Jeff's kids stayed over Sunday night so we could get up early and catch the Fun Bus to Elitch's (Six Flags) up in Denver. We played there all day, getting back home close to 10p.m. Sammy is tall enough for most of the rides now. Our favorite is the Twister, a wooden roller coaster. Yesterday was the annual 4th barbecue at aunt Susie's house for the Anderson and Wichman families (my mom's family is the Anderson family). So we met there for three or four hours. Today mom had off and was watching Sammy so we went to see Nacho Libre (really silly/dumb, kind of in the same genre as Napoleon Dynamite). ran errands and went to the funeral of aunt Susie's sister-in-law.

We got a nice rain yesterday hoping for more today insha'allah.