• purchase microsoft works calendar buy adobe creative suite 3 production premium cost of microsoft office 2013 professional buy windows 7 64 bit os solidworks 2010 cheap buy archicad 15 buy corel wordperfect x4 cheapest microsoft office 2007 professional buying omnifocus best price quicken premier 2010 download office professional 2010 student discount best price for photoshop cs4 buy office 2003 small business edition photoshop cs3 cost price of autocad 2008 lt
  • purchase 3ds max windows 7 professional pricing buy wordperfect office 2000 price of microsoft office 2013 professional buy nero 6 purchase ms works best price windows 7 cheap illustrator cs3 upgrade price of adobe audition best price rosetta stone spanish version 3 buy office 2010 academic cheap adobe premiere pro mac purchase adobe fireworks cheap microsoft office 2003 vista adobe dreamweaver cs4 cost

    You Ask, I Answer: Calorie Discrepancies on Food Labels

    Why does the nutritional information on labels of the (seemingly) same product, but from different companies, have different data?

    The one that I noticed today was when I bought Hodgson Mill’s oatbran. It says 40 grams has 120 calories, but Mother’s oat bran says 40g is 150 calories. Shouldn’t these be the same?

    They both state that the only ingredient in the box is oat bran.

    Another example (that got me started on this) was canned black beans.

    Again, the serving side listed on the can is always approximately the same (I’ve even checked the weight, not just the half cup measurement) and the calories listed can range from 90 to 130, depending on the brand.

    Do you know why this is?

    I understand that companies have some fudge-room for their nutritionals, but these examples seem like there shouldn’t be that much of a difference.

    – Michelle Pope
    (location withheld)

    Ah, welcome to the twisted maze that is calorie labeling!

    This is an excellent question, as it gives significant insight into labeling laws and regulations.

    Come on in and sit a spell, though, because this can be initially confusing to the untrained eye.

    First of all, remember that calorie figures higher than 50 can be rounded off to the nearest 10-calorie increment.

    In other words, if a serving of cereal adds up to 134 calories, it can legally be displayed on the label as 130.

    Similarly, a serving containing 156 calories is often shown as 160 calories for simplicity’s sake.

    Now we get to the more complicated issues.

    Although you often see references to carbohydrates containing 4 calories per gram, they technically contain 3.6 calories per gram.

    The “4 calories per gram” figure is commonly used — and referred to everywhere, including this blog — in order to facilitate in-your-head multiplication and estimation.

    Additionally, since protein technically provides 4.2 calories per gram, the logic is that by portraying both those nutrients as containing 4 calories per gram, final estimates are very close to actual totals.

    That said, some companies arrive at their calorie totals by allocating 4 calories to each gram of carbohydrate in their food, while others — and this is completely legal, by the way — allocate 3.6 calories per gram.

    On top of that, all macronutrient figures are rounded off. In other words, a serving of food containing 29.5 grams of carbohydrates shows up as containing 30.

    So, company #1 may choose to keep it simple and multiply that rounded figure (30 grams) by the rounded-up “calories per gram” figure (4 calories per gram) and come up with 120 calories.

    Meanwhile, company #2 can instead opt to multiply the technical figures (29.5 grams of carbohydrate x 3.6 calories per gram) for a grand total of 106 calories!

    Then we have the issue of fiber, which comes into play with both of your food examples.

    If food companies choose to, they may leave out grams of carbohydrates from insoluble fibers in their final calculations.

    Taking all that into consideration, you can see why the same amount of the same food does not always yield the same food label.

    Share

    5 Comments

    1. Kate, RD said on February 25th, 2009

      Hey Andy – great job at describing such a complex issue!

    2. WifeMomChocoholic said on February 25th, 2009

      Thanks! I have often wondered about that very thing.

    3. Yael Redeman-Sid said on December 17th, 2009

      great post and wondeful blog !keep up the good work and happy holidays !
      Yae

    4. Erika said on August 23rd, 2010

      Hi Andy,

      Loved this post! As Kate said, thanks for simplifying a complex issue.

    Leave a Reply

    Trackbacks

    1. flights to paris