How to calculate calories on a food label

How to read calories
Fat, carbohydrates, and protein are the only nutrients that contribute calories to food.Add up the calories from these three nutrients to get the total calories shown on the label.

  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
Here’s the math:
  • 12 grams of fat x 9 calories per gram = 108 calories
  • 25 grams of carbohydrates x 4 calories per gram = 100 calories
  • 3 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram = 12 calories

108 + 100 + 12 = 220 calories

The following box is sometimes shown on a food label. It tells you there are 9 calories in 1 gram of fat, 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrate, and 4 grams in 1 gram of protein…always.

FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

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Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...