What's for breakfast? How about 175 thousand calories?


Out of habit I look at the label of pretty much everything at the grocery store before purchasing it. Not for any health reasons, just habit really. Sometimes the labels are in foreign languages that I don't speak, but that rarely stops me.

Yesterday at the grocery store I found this gem:

In case you're not as versatile in label reading as I am... this product contains 8,799% of your daily recommended caloric intake.

To put that in perspective, this would be the equivalent of eating:

    * 57kg of sugar
    * 19kg of lard
    * 417 thousand blueberries
    * 1234 bottles of beer
    * 81 litres of vodka
    * 43kg of cheddar cheese
    * 100 loaves of bread

Peanut Gallery


that packaging says 'kcal', which I translate as "kilocalories".

so it's not 175,000 calories, it's 175,000,000 calories.

i'm prety sure that north

Scott Hadfield

i'm prety sure that north american calories are just printed as "cal" for simplicity, but really they're in kilocalories as well.

wow that's insane


wow that's insane


I initially though that this was probably just the confusion over what we call a Calorie. The Calorie (often capitalized to denote that it's not a normal one) mentioned on packaging is really a kilocalorie. So when you have a candy bar that is 200 Calories, to any scientist you actually ate 200,000 calories. This is what they would use if they were converting it into joules or any other measurement.

But then I see the packaging already says "kcal", which would be equal to our Calorie.

I think someone heard about Calorie = 1,000 calories, but then screwed up the conversion. If you'll notice, they are also using the European convention of a comma where we would put a decimal, so they might even have been given the equation I just wrote in the last sentence and interpreted 1,000 as one point zero zero zero.


Heather Maillet

i think wherever you are, and in a lot of european countries, etc. the COMMA is used in numerical figures like we would use a decimal.

that's revolting. and i know

that's revolting. and i know why you read labels out of habit. ;-)

What is it?


Anything with that many calories MUST taste great!

yay, they screwed up a


yay, they screwed up a label!

Look at the %VD again

This is certainly a mistake and this is really 175 kcals. The label is in a Spanish-European label, and the comma in the %VD column is decimal point meaning it is really 8% of the daily value. This can bee seen when you look at the other values in the %VD column, because none of the others have 3 digits after the comma.

They made the same mistake with the kJ calculation. They have 100g of this product being 739mJ, which is the same as 150kg of TNT!

Also equivalent to eating

Also equivalent to eating 4 Big Macs.

Haha, you are all reading


Haha, you are all reading this wrong. You might want to edit this with one of those 'Update:' things bloggers are so fond of.

You're all reading it as the American digit separator for groups of 3 digits, ie 176000:
176,000. And for decimals you use the dot, so 176,000.10 for instance.

In europe, we use a space as to group 3 digits around, and comma for the decimals, so:
176,000.10 American = 176 000,10 European.

Getting clearer? So looking at that label:
175,980 kcal = 739,116kj (8.799% VD, Valores Diarios en base a una dieta de 2000 kcal).

They're just printing out a lot of decimals, which I think they shouldn't, because it is pointless and looks stupid, but anyway, in American digit grouping this would be:
175.980 Cals = 739.116kj (8.799% of recommended daily intake of a base diet of 2000 Cals)

Or, written even more clearly:
~176 Cals = ~740 kj (8.799% of recommended daily intake, 176/2000 = 8.8%, it fits ey?)

Mystery solved!