how many calories can there be in 1g?
April 9, 2006 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Which food has the highest number of calories per gram?
posted by reklaw to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
Any kind of cooking oil.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:35 PM on April 9, 2006

I just looked: one tablespoon of peanut oil is 120 calories.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2006

Fat=9 Kcal per gram

Everything else= less than that.
posted by 517 at 12:41 PM on April 9, 2006

It is oil (pure fat). Fat, as a category of macronutrient, holds the highest caloric value per unit of mass. A pure oil containing 100% fat would have the highest caloric value. Polyunsaturated fat would have an insignificantly higher caloric value per unit of mass, because each fat molecule has a slightly lower molecular weight... but this is not something that would make a difference on the scale of the human diet.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:42 PM on April 9, 2006

Raw fat. Raw fat has the highest number of calories per gram (9 Kcal/g, as stated above). Take your pick of oils, really.
posted by jdroth at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2006

While the previous commenters are surely right about pure fat being the highest calories/gram, as far as actual prepared food goes, there are a couple contenders:

Chocco Salo. A Ukrainian dish consisting of pork fat smothered in chocolate. The mind boggles.

Also have to mention deep-fried Mars bars.

And I've always wanted to try the Snickers pie.

posted by Brian James at 1:08 PM on April 9, 2006

It's true, counterintuitive though it may seem, that simple, straight fat has the highest number of calories of any substance, measure for measure.
posted by Miko at 1:51 PM on April 9, 2006

Fat may have the highest number, but poi definitely feels like the most.
posted by spiderskull at 2:13 PM on April 9, 2006

Another contender would have to be the Scotch egg. A hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage meat, then deep-fried. Mmm... cholesterol.
posted by staggernation at 2:46 PM on April 9, 2006

One cup of macadamia nuts has almost 1000 calories. Now imagine dipping them in chocolate. Think about THAT the next time a coworker comes back from Hawaii and tosses the ubiquitous box of them on the office food table.
posted by GaelFC at 3:42 PM on April 9, 2006

Response by poster: That's interesting...

Follow-up question, then: if fat has the most calories by weight, then what has the most calories by volume? Are there any really small, really heavy, super-high-calorie things out there?
posted by reklaw at 3:50 PM on April 9, 2006

I think fat wins that title, too. Taking GaeIFC's benchmark of a cup of macadamia nuts as 1000 calories, then with 16 tablespoons per cup and 120 calories per tablespoon, a cup of peanut oil is 1920 calories, almost twice as much.

White sugar is a real piker by comparison, at only 1200 calories.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:02 PM on April 9, 2006

I'd say definitely fat. Sugar has only 4,000 calories per gram, compared to fat's 9,000, and its density is comparable to that of various oils, as you can see here and here.

I can't seem to find density information for pure protein (such as soy or whey protein) anywhere, nor am I able to estimate it, but I'm pretty sure it's not twice as dense as fat (protein also carries 4,000 calories per gram).

So, fat, oil, butter. Tasty stuff.
posted by dsword at 4:15 PM on April 9, 2006

And to confuse the original poster even more.. people are using two different varieties of 'calorie' in this thread! ;-) kilocalories and gram calories.
posted by wackybrit at 5:11 PM on April 9, 2006

Right on, wackybrit. Just to clear up any lingering confusion, 1 calorie is defined as the energy required to raise 1 gram (equal to 1 milliliter) of water by 1 degree Celsius, and 1 Calorie is 1,000 calories, as evidenced by what is perhaps the most confusing Google search you can possibly do.

Food is usually measured in Calories (kilocalories), probably because it costs money to print all those zeroes.
posted by dsword at 6:29 PM on April 9, 2006

Lard. (what everyone else is saying)
posted by furtive at 7:12 PM on April 9, 2006

For calorie content by volume, I think some forms of sugar water beat fat and oil, assuming dsword's numbers are correct.

Density of peanut oil: .93 g/ml
Calories per ml peanut oil: .93 x 9000 = 8370

Solubility of sucrose in room temperature water: ~2 g/ml
Calories per ml of room temperature water saturated with sucrose: ~8000

Solubility of sucrose in 90C water: ~4.2 g/ml
Calories per ml of 90C water saturated with sucrose: ~15000

These are rough approximations, but I think they're in the right neighborhood. Even 40C saturated sugar water should have higher calories/volume values than oil.
posted by shoos at 7:31 PM on April 9, 2006

That's an excellent observation, shoos. I dunno what the hottest liquid one can comfortably swallow is, but it's well over 40 °C and that may make sugar-water our winner in the volume category...
posted by rxrfrx at 7:48 AM on April 10, 2006

Hm. Is sucrose soluble in oil? Because if you super-saturated oil with the sugar...then we'd be talkin' some calories.
posted by Miko at 8:29 AM on April 10, 2006

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