Did you know?

We measure energy in kilojoules, the same as we measure distance in kilometres and weight in kilograms.

Our bodies use energy for everything we do - growth, development, cell repair, and for movement activities like walking, running, swimming, working and even sleeping.

The pre-metric name for kilojoules was calories, but for over 30 years Australia has used the metric terminology, kilojoules, in schools and in the Food Standards Code.

1 kilojoule = 0.24 kilocalories/calories
1 kilocalorie = 4.18 kilojoules

kJ = kilojoules
kcal = kilocalorie (or calorie)

Did you know?

Protein, fats and carbohydrates are converted into energy in different quantities. Vitamins and minerals are also essential nutrients for the body, but they are not converted into energy.

Energy Content

1 gram of protein

17 kJ

1 gram of fat

37 kJ

1 gram of carbohydrates

17 kJ

1 gram of dietary fibre

8 kJ

1 gram of alcohol

29 kJ

Alcohol - second only to fat!

Did you know alcohol has many more kilojoules than other types of foods?  On this list, alcohol has the second highest energy content per gram - second only to fat!

Energy in Your Food

Kilojoules (food energy)
are important for providing energy for your daily activities and body function.  Aim to balance the energy you consume through foods with the energy you expend during the day. 

The more active you are the more kilojoules of food energy you need.  If you are less active, your body needs fewer kilojoules of food energy to get you through the day.


Balance Your Intake Throughout the Day

When you’re choosing foods and drinks, take a look at the DIG thumbnail for energy.    It can be easier to look at the % Daily Intake for energy and compare to the % of energy recommended for that meal instead of thinking about what you need for a whole day.

The Daily Intake Guide has been developed to show you how you can distribute your energy intake over a day.  It's based on 3 meals plus 2 smaller in-between meal snacks.

You can modify the guide to adapt it to your eating pattern on a given day.  For example if you have a large breakfast (greater than 20% of your daily energy needs), you will need to modify (reduce) your intake amount for mid-morning and afternoon snacks, lunch or dinner.  Its common sense - and now easier to understand with DIG!


Energy Variance

The percent Daily Intake values used in DIG are based on an average adult diet of 8,700 kilojoules (kJ).  Many people will require different amounts of food energy at various stages of their lives and as their activity level varies. 

A very active teenager, for example, will require more food energy than a sedentary older person.