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Calorie

Calorie. A metric unit for measuring heat energy, whose counterpart is the British thermal unit (B.t.u.) (q.v.). The small calorie (cal) is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram (q.v.) of water by 1¦Centigrade (q.v.) from 14.5¦ to 15.5¦C, whereas the large calorie or kilo-calorie (Cal or K-cal) is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram or liter (q.v.) of water by 1¦C within the same temperature range. The latter unit is normally used to express the heat- or energy-producing value of a food.