How many calories are in a KCAL?

How many calories are in a KCAL?

Please provide values below to convert kilocalorie (th) [kcal (th)] to calorie (th) [cal (th)], or vice versa.

Definition: A kilocalorie (symbol: kcal or Cal) is a unit of energy defined based on the calorie and is equal to 1000 calories or 4.1868 kilojoules. A calorie (small calorie) is defined as the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by one °C. Kilocalories are also referred to as large calories or food calories, and are sometimes referred to as Calories, which can be ambiguous, and mistaken for the small calorie.

History/origin: The kilocalorie shares its origin with the small calorie except that it is defined in terms of the kilogram rather than the gram. The term is based on the Latin "calor," meaning heat, and the calorie was first defined as a unit of heat energy in 1824 by Nicolas Clement. The kilocalorie however, was not introduced to the American public until 1887, by Wilbur Olin Atwater.

Current use: Although the kilocalorie is generally considered an obsolete unit, it is still widely used alongside the SI unit of kilojoule to measure food energy. In countries where SI has not been adopted, such as the US, kilocalories, typically referred to as simply "Calories," are still the preferred measurement of food energy. Kilocalories are also sometimes seen in chemistry.

The kilo prefix is based on the SI prefixes, but calories with prefixes beyond the multiple of kilo are not commonly used.


Definition: A calorie (symbol: cal) is a unit of energy defined as the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by one °C. This is referred to as the small calorie or the gram calorie, and is equal to 4.1868 joules, the SI (International System of Units) unit of energy.

A large calorie (symbol: Cal), also known as a kilogram calorie (symbol: Cal), is technically a kilocalorie (symbol: kcal), the equivalent of 1000 small calories, but is also sometimes referred to as simply "Calorie." Large calories are usually used for labeling foods, and as such, is known as the food calorie.

History/origin: The term calorie comes from the Latin word "calor," which means heat. It was first defined as a unit of heat energy in 1824 by Nicolas Clement and appeared in French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. The large calorie was introduced to the American public later, in 1887, by Wilbur Olin Atwater.

Current use: Although the calorie can be used with SI, since the official adoption of SI in 1960, the calorie is considered obsolete. Despite this, the large calorie is still widely used as a unit of food energy, alongside, or in place of the SI unit of food energy, the kilojoule. The use of a capital "C" in Calorie is intended to denote the use of kilocalories rather than calories denoting a single calorie. This is not often understood however, resulting in some confusion when foods are only labeled as Calories rather than kilocalories.

Calories are also used within scientific contexts, such as chemistry. In these contexts, the term being referenced is most often the small calorie, though measurements are often reported in kilocalories.

Kilocalorie (th) [kcal (th)]Calorie (th) [cal (th)]
0.01 kcal (th)10 cal (th)
0.1 kcal (th)100 cal (th)
1 kcal (th)1000 cal (th)
2 kcal (th)2000 cal (th)
3 kcal (th)3000 cal (th)
5 kcal (th)5000 cal (th)
10 kcal (th)10000 cal (th)
20 kcal (th)20000 cal (th)
50 kcal (th)50000 cal (th)
100 kcal (th)100000 cal (th)
1000 kcal (th)1000000 cal (th)

1 kcal (th) = 1000 cal (th)1 cal (th) = 0.001 kcal (th)

Example: convert 15 kcal (th) to cal (th):
15 kcal (th) = 15 × 1000 cal (th) = 15000 cal (th)

Updated on 2017-02-28

The information on this page applies to the following models: ACT101M/17 .

How many calories are in a KCAL?

A KCAL is equal to one calorie.

Image Credit: annick vanderschelden photography/Moment/GettyImages

When discussing the nutrition of a food item, it's common to refer to the number of Calories first. You may see Calories with the label "kcal" and wonder exactly how many Calories are equivalent to 1 kcal. The answer is simpler than you might imagine.

One kilocalorie, or kcal, is equivalent to 1 Calorie.

Calories Equivalent to 1 Kcal

According to HyperPhysics of Georgia State University, the dietary Calorie (with a capital C) is equivalent to a kilocalorie, which is equivalent to 1,000 calories. You can think of it in simpler terms: The Calories labeled on food nutrition facts are, in fact, kilocalories, explains the USDA National Agricultural Library. One kilocalorie is equivalent to 1 Calorie.

While a calorie is the energy required to increase 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius, a kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of water by 1 degree Celsius or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, says the USDA.

As your body chemically breaks down food into sugars, it releases energy from those sugars to keep you active throughout the day, says the Society for Science & the Public. Therefore, calories or kilocalories are typically used to measure the amount of energy contained in a defined amount of food.

Kilojoules, explains the National Health Service (NHS), are the metric measurement of kilocalories. If you want to convert calories to kilojoules, simply multiply the number of calories by 4.2. The calorie content of a food can either be given in kilocalories or kilojoules, depending on which measurement system your country uses.

How Calories Work

Calories are what we use to measure the amount of energy in food, says the NHS. We store excess calories as body fat, which is what happens when we gain weight from excess calories. It's important to maintain a balance between what we consume and how much energy we expend through physical activity as well as normal bodily functions.

You can find the calorie amount on the food's nutrition label. This information will help you gauge whether you're consuming too many calories per day. NHS points out that the more vigorously you do physical activity, the more calories you'll lose.

What's more, if you're trying to lose weight, you'll need to use more energy than what you consume. The best approach is to combine physical activity with healthy eating. Though too many calories can result in weight gain, do keep in mind that, generally speaking, calories aren't bad for you, says KidsHealth From Nemours. In fact, your body requires them to function.

How Many Calories You Need

Just how many calories do we need per day? According to another article from NHS, women need an average of 2,000 kilocalories a day while men need an average of 2,500 kilocalories per day. Kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years old require 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day, depending on their level of activity, says KidsHealth.

NHS's "What Does 100 Calories Look Like?" breaks down your daily energy requirement. Breakfast should be about one-fifth or 20 percent of your daily energy intake, lunch and dinner should each be about 30 percent or one-third, and snacks and drinks combined, about one-fifth or 20 percent.

And as the article title suggests, NHS also provides an idea of what 100 calories look like, using examples of how much of a certain kind of food would be equivalent to 100 calories. For example, about 4 teaspoons of sugar equal 100 calories. Other foods that add up to 100 calories: three slices of turkey or a large apple or banana. These comparisons are meant to give you a better sense of your calorie intake per day.