Now that Halloween is over it is the time where you test how much candy you can consume before you get sick. As we all know, candy is high in calories and low in nutritional value. How exactly is a calorie calculated? One way to calculate calories in food is the bomb calorimeter. First all the moisture must be removed from the food in a dehydrator and then the food is ground up and processed into a pellet. This pellet is then placed in the bomb calorimeter. Inside the bomb calorimeter it is a pure oxygen environment where the food will be burned. The heat measured from the burning of the food is what scientist use to calculate the calories in the food.
In a recent episode of NOVA Science Now they explored what separates humans from animals. A crucial step for humans is the ability to cook our food. By cooking our food we are able to more easily digest it and thus can consume more calories from our food than animals. In this episode they compared the calorie content of a cupcake to a rat. 7 oz of cupcake have twice as many calories as a rat. Maybe next Halloween I will hand out frozen dead rats instead of candy. (Just kidding!) You can watch this episode online.
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