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A Light Lunch?

A Case in Calorie Counting

Co Authors:

Brahmadeo Dewprashad
Department of Science
Borough of Manhattan Community College / City University of New York

Geraldine S. Vaz
Ambulatory Care Department
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center


This case study was developed to engage students by making connections between core concepts in chemistry and obesity related factors. The case is in the form of a story between two friends and their underestimation of the calories they consumed in a meal and their overestimation of the efforts needed to maintain a healthy body weight. Concepts taught by the case include use of conversion factors, calculation of percentages and body mass index, and calculations of caloric values of different foods. The case is suitable for use in courses in general, organic, and biological chemistry as well as in undergraduate nutrition courses.

  • Use conversion factors to calculate the energy value of different foods.
  • Inter-convert energy values given in Calories and kJ.
  • Calculate percentages.
  • Calculate body mass index (BMI) and understanding its use in categorizing individuals as healthy, overweight, or obese.
  • Calculate the amount of Calories burned during walking and understanding effective strategies for weight maintenance.
Keywords: Calories; obesity; dieting; weight loss; body mass index; carbohydrate; protein; fat; trans fat; saturated fat; cholesterol
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biochemistry   Organic Chemistry   Chemistry (General)   Nutrition  
Date Posted: 10/28/10
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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