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Can we use calories as a common unit of account?

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Malachi posted on Sun, Dec 30 2012 1:45 PM
This is in addition to money, and should be further divided into whether those calories can be converted into human energy, mechanical energy, etc.
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Why? And using what price?

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Because it would help compare various goods, like whether it is better to buy gasoline or diesel fuel; or lard vs suet. Using the prices from the local markets.
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Would you use the theoretic caloric content? Or the actual amount of work or heat you could get out of the fuel? Using which burining device? Some average?

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Blargg replied on Sun, Dec 30 2012 2:56 PM

Isn't the choice as what fuel, method of transportation, etc. based on more than just energy used? If one is focused entirely on energy, then it's easy to calculate the amounts once and then refer to these when making those decisions.

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It only seems reasonale to compare actual work produced from a constant device, and that wold only be useful to someone who had the device itself. Perhaps this could be a part of guild money systems.
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Couldnt one theoretically translate all those other considerations into caloric amounts?
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Calories is a measure of 4.2 joules. So, just use joules.

I would love to see a cost / calorie measurement on foods.

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Grains (and grain derived food products) are cheapest per calorie, hence modern civilization. Thats what I kept trying to tell F4M.
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Caloric content is a terrible measure of nutrition. Eating 1500 calories of McDonalds "food" is not equivalent to eating 1500 calories of home-made, non-fried organic food.

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But the handicap between the two could be expressed in calories, no?
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How?

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Work out the amount of calories of energy required to grow, prepare and bring to the consumer 1500 calories worth of healthy food and compare that to the amount of calories required to get 1500 calories of McDonalds to the consumer? The former subtract the latter would give a difference in calories.

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Yeah, I suppose, though how do you measure the amount of calories it takes to grow the food? Grow it by what method?

Plus, not all calories are equal when used by people - getting Bill Gates to use his calories is much more "expensive" than getting your store clerk to use his calories.

It's odd.

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Wheylous:

Caloric content is a terrible measure of nutrition. Eating 1500 calories of McDonalds "food" is not equivalent to eating 1500 calories of home-made, non-fried organic food.

This is true, but probably not in the way you seem to be implying.

The McDonalds food is likely to give you much easier and quicker calories. Bread, sugar, and potatoes. That's all straight to forming glucose, instant calories.

Homemade food, assuming you mean real meats, vegetables, less carbs generally, are harder for the body to absorb. For instance, one estimate is that the body spends 20 times more energy digesting proteins than carbs. Certainly homemade food is likely to have much better vitamin content and the like.

Recently I discovered and went on the ketogenic diet, and have to say that it is absolutely awesome and wish I'd discovered it 20 years ago.

 
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