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Ask the Nutritionist

Q + A

How accurate are the calorie counts on package labels?

TBH, the calories listed on a Nutrition Facts label are an estimate rather than a strict value — but they are pretty darn close. A calorie is quantified as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 milliliter of water by 1 degree Celsius. Scientists place a single, whole or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food nutrient profile database — FoodData Central () — for your (pretty accurate) totals.

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