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Nutrition info Label Confusion

Posted on May 10th, 2004 filed in Nutrition    |   

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fibre1.jpg I made an interesting discovery today. I noted that my Fiber 1 cereal has what I believe erroneous nutritional info. But that started a whole chain of events that would have made Good ole Sherlock Holmes proud.

With the understanding that fiber is not absorbed and rather just courses in and out through the digestive system, it is natural to expect that fiber ingested does not contribute any calories to one’s intake.

But here’s what Fibre 1 label shows:

Calories: 110 calories
Fat: 1 gram
Prt: 2 grams
Carbs: 24 grams
Fiber: 15 grams

If fiber grams were not counted, the calories in fiber one per serving would be:

(24 -15) * 4 + 9 + (2×4) = 53 calories

But that is not the case as calories on label are 110.

(24*4) + 9 + (2*4) = 113 (The 3 calories here are from rounding up some ingrdients I am sure)

So it seems here that fiber calories are counted like all carbs.

That got me quite confused. Upon further investigation into this matter, I found out that Fibre 1 in canada is Fiber one in the US and the label south of the border has the following:

Protein 2 grams
Fat 1 gram
Carbs 24 grams
Fiber 14 grams
60 Calories

The difference between 60 and 53 cals is due to rounding I am sure.

Quite amazing that the same product has different nutritional info based on where it is purchased.

Turns out that the culprit here is the labeling system followed in the two countries. The US label measures calories as absorbed by the body while the canadian label reflects how much energy is released when a food serving is burnt in a calorimeter and thus is not actually accurate as to calories ingested by that food serving.

So basically, always subtract the energy that corresponds to fiber content in food (fiber grams x 4) from total calories per serving as posted on Canadian labels. US labels should be fine however.

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