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Elements within the Nutrition Facts table

The energy value of food is defined in the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).

In nutrition, energy is measured using "calories". This unit is equivalent to the "kilocalorie" or 1,000 calories used in chemistry. The term "calories" must be used in prescribed nutrient content claims and in the Nutrition Facts table. In other situations, either variation may be used as it is common practice in nutrition to use "calories" and "kilocalories" interchangeably.

The energy value of foods should be calculated by the Atwater method, using specific factors from the latest revisions of USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 8: Composition of Foods (1984). Details of their derivation are outlined in A.L. Merrill and B.K. Watt, Energy Value of Foods - Basis and Derivation, USDA Handbook 74 (1955). The average factors in the table below may be used in place of the specific factors provided that the energy values are in reasonable agreement with the more accurate values determined according to Merrill and Watt.

It is the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that the declared energy value accurately reflects the energy content of the product. Although one option is to determine the energy value directly through analysis, manufacturers may calculate the energy value either by the actual (un-rounded) nutrient content value for protein, fat and carbohydrate or the declared (rounded) values for these nutrients and then multiply them by the Atwater factors. When deciding whether to use the un-rounded or rounded value, the manufacturer should consider the amount of energy that will fall within the acceptable tolerances, provide the greatest consistency on the food label, and prevent any unnecessary consumer confusion. The CFIA will be calculating the energy value of a food using un-rounded nutrient content values of protein, fat and carbohydrates as determined by laboratory testing.

Average energy content of nutrients

Nutrient Cal/g kJ/g
Protein 4 17
Fat 9 37
Carbohydrate Table note 1 4 17
Alcohol 7 29

Table note

Table note 1

The energy value for the total carbohydrate content may be less than 4 Cal/g if the carbohydrate includes sugar alcohols, polydextrose and/or dietary fibre (see section Energy values of sugar alcohols, glycerol and polydextrose and Energy values of dietary fibre).

Return to table note 1  referrer

Converting calories to kilojoules

To convert calories to kilojoules, use the following formula: 1 calorie = 4.184 kilojoules.

Calculation example - Oatmeal

Calculate the energy content of 250 ml of cooked oatmeal using specific energy factors:

Nutrient Amount in g Specific energy factors for oatmeal
Protein 3 x 3.46 = 10.38
Fat 1 x 8.37 = 8.37
Carbohydrate 13 x 4.12 = 53.56

Total energy = 72.31 Cal
Rounded = 70 Cal
Converted to kilojoules: 72.31 Cal x 4.184 = 302.5 kJ
Rounded = 300 kJ

Calculation example - Macaroni and cheese

Calculate the energy of 250 ml of macaroni and cheese using the average energy values:

Nutrient Amount in g Average energy values
Protein 18 x 4 = 72
Fat 23 x 9 = 207
Carbohydrate 42 x 4 = 168

Total energy = 447 Cal

Rounded = 450 Cal
Converted to kilojoules: 447 Cal x 4.184 = 1870.25 kJ
Rounded = 1870 kJ

Energy values of sugar alcohols, glycerol and polydextrose

Energy source Energy values
(Cal/g) Table note 2
Erythritol 0.2
Glycerol 4.32
Isomalt 2
Lactitol 2
Maltitol 3.0
Mannitol 1.6
Polydextrose 1
Sorbitol 2.6
Xylitol 3.0

Table note

Table note 2

Values from the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences,
Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada.

Return to table note 2  referrer

Energy value of dietary fibre

A value of 2 Cal (8 kJ) per gram should be used for the dietary fibre portion of the fibre source.

A value of less than 2 Cal (8 kJ) per gram may be used for the dietary fibre content if a specific value is available for the fibre source.

Energy value of bran

The energy value of the fibre portion of wheat bran is 0.6 Cal (2.5 kJ) / g and the wheat bran itself has an energy value of 2.4 Cal (10 kJ) / g.

Energy value of inulin

An energy value of 2 Cal (8 kJ) per gram should be used for inulin.

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