T Nation

'K-Cal' vs. 'Cal'

Please excuse my ignorance, but can someone tell me if there is a difference between a ‘cal’ (calorie) and a ‘k-cal’?

I always thought they were the same thing, k-cal being the more scientific term. But then I read John Berardi’s latest picture post thread. He states that he was eating 5500 k-cals, then reduced to 4500 k-cals and lost fat, before further reducing.

I find this amazing, as I am not able to lose fat unless I dip below 3000 calories- and I am 197 lbs, aprox 10-11% BF. Either i am doing something wrong, or he has a rediculously fast metabolism, or I should try Massive eating, or all of the above.

So- is a ‘k-cal’ and a ‘cal’ the same thing or what?

“kcal” is a unit of heat measurement. It’s 1000 calories. However, Nutritionists adopted the name “cal” to mean a “food calorie” (as you may read it sometimes), which is infact a “kcal”.

Confused yet? heheh.

1 cal (food calorie)=1 kcal (heat unit)

So you need either 3000 food calories or 3000 kcals (6 of one, 1/2 doz. of the other)

they are the same.

They are the same thing. One k-cal = 1,000 calories. However, on food labels, when it says ‘100 cals per serving’, it REALLY means 100,000 calories per serving. They just abbreviate it to calories.

So yeah, they’re the same thing, as far as eating food goes. No one goes around saying “I ate 3,000,000 calories today”, even though they may have. When people say calories, they mean k-cals.

Eat lots and don’t sweat the details

Actually this is all a matter of sloppy writing:

cal = calorie
kcal = kilo-calorie = 1000 calories = Cal

The “Cal” with a large “C” is a nutritionist way of writing “kcal”, but must be spelled with the large C. Most people tend to use the “cal” and “Cal” interchangeably, which causes the confusion.