The Difference Between Calories and Kilojoules

The Difference Between Calories and Kilojoules

People ask me about the difference between calories and kilojoules all the time in my job as a personal trainer. They want to know which they should be counting and if they should be counting them at all. So I’ve decided I’ll pop a little piece up here on the blog for you. I’m not going to get overly technical, it’s pretty straight forward really.

Calories and kilojoules are the just different units for measuring the same thing – energy. A simple comparison is a kilometre vs a mile. They are both measuring distance, just expressed in a different way. Similarly, here in Australia, we measure weight in kilograms while in the US weight is measured in pounds.

There are approximately 4 kilojoules in a calorie. You can use either term, it really doesn’t matter. They are essentially the same thing. Many food and drink labels have both units of measurements on them but in Australia, kilojoules tend to be the more common. If you prefer to work with calories and a label only has kilojoules on it, a quick way of estimating the calories in a product is to divide the kilojoules by four.

Now, regarding whether you should fixate on counting them or not is a whole different issue but it can certainly be a good idea to have a grasp on the language so you can understand exactly what people are talking about. The more you can understand, the better chance you have of making an informed and educated decision that is right for you and your body. There is so much conflicting (and often downright crazy) information and advice out there knowing these basics can be so helpful.

Stop by our Facebook page for a chat about how to convert calories to kilojoules or vice versa – or share your experiences below. We’d love to hear from you!