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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (
Subject:         Re: Estimating Calories Per Pound
Date: September 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm PST

In Reply to: Estimating Calories Per Pound posted by Tim on September 8, 2008 at 7:56 am:

Hi Tim

>>>With food servings listed sometimes in weight and other times in volume,

Most all food servings on the Nutrition Facts label must list the weight in grams.

>>>what methods do you use estimate calories per pound?

I am assuming you are talking about food labels on packaged products. If so, there is not a good way to evaluate calorie density. The reason is, many foods that are healthy, are listed in their dry forms like oats, brown rice, barley, whole grain pasta, etc. If you evaluate calorie density in their dry uncooked form, it will be very high, over 1200 calories per pound.

However, when you prepare them, you add in (usually) 2x the volume in water, which adds lots of weight and no calories to the final cooked product, lowering the calorie density of the final cooked product to about 500 calories per pound.

Also, most all other packaged products foods, are calorie dense.

This is why in my Label Reading talk, I do not give a guidelines for calorie density. It doesn't work for the acceptable foods and most all others are calorie dense.

However, for the record, if you don't mind using some rough averages, there is a simple way to estimate calorie density when given the calories and the grams of the serving.

If the calories are equal to or less than the grams, the product is low in calorie density (~500 calories per pound or less). ie, 100 calories or less per 100 grams.

If the calories are equal to or up to double the grams, this product is "medium" in calorie density (around 500-1000 calories per pound) ie, 100-200 calories per 100 grams.

If the calories are double to triple the grams, this product is high in calorie density (around 1000-1500 calories per pound) ie, 200-300 calories per 100 grams.

If the calories are triple or more than the grams, this product is very high in calorie density (around 1500 calories per pound or more) ie, 300 calories or more per 100 grams.

In Health

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