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Measuring the Calorie

Content of the Different

Types of Meat


Maria Dj Belina Virginia

Kevin Viernes

University of Cebu Lapu-lapu and Mandaue


Issue in health is gaining popularity in the modern era. As new types of diseases are discovered, the

demand for preventive measures, supplements and other pro-health alternatives is greatly being

encouraged by the different sectors of the scientific field. One of the main considerations held by experts

is maintaining proper and healthy diet. The food we eat is said to be one of the main factors affecting our


Meat, considered as one of the most consumed food products, is gaining a plenty of reviews ranging

from their benefits up to their disadvantages. The experts believe that meat contributes the highest amount

of cholesterol and calories to us among all types of food. As health-conscious individuals, the researchers

are very eager to know how much each type of meat contributes to our body. This led them to conduct

this investigation.

Physics taught us that burning of calories produces heat, thus giving the researchers an idea to

investigate the relationship of heat (i.e. change in temperature) and calories. In the research, it is found

out that there is a concrete relationship between the amounts of calories consumed to the heat generated

when a certain type of organic substance is burned. This then lead to the development of an experimental

designed which aims to measure the calorie content of a certain meat.

The experiment uses four types of meat: pork, beef, chicken, and fish meat. Each type is allowed to

burn for the measurement of calorie-content by using an improvised calorimeter. Among the four meat

used, it is found out that pork contains the highest amount of calories while fish meat contains the least.

The researchers then concluded that pork, being the one which contains the most number of calories, is

the one which imposes the greatest possibility of affecting our health. On the other hand, beef, chicken

and fish meat which ranked second, third and last with respect to its calorie-content is affect lesser to our

body. This result is very important as it gives us a deeper understanding on the food we eat and to their

contribution to us.

The researchers would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the people who have

inspired them and who encourage them to continue this investigation.

To their parents, ________________ and ____________________; _________________

and ________________, for their invaluable support. For the trust, the loyalty and the

understanding they have given to us during the conduct of this investigation.

To our friends for the encouragement, the help and the

Chapter I - Introduction
Background of the Study
This study is about the calorie content of the four types of meat. It further compares the

results to determine which common meat contains the most number of calories thus giving more

energy. Utilizing an improvised calorimeter, three trials where take to measure the calorie content

by burning the meat. The results where then tabulated and compared vis-à-vis each other.

Statement of the Problem


 To measure the amount of calories contained in each of the four types of meat.


 To identify which amount the meats being examined has highest calorie-content.

 To develop a method of determining the amount of calories contained by organic materials.

 To create an improvised calorimeter.


 All of the four types of meat have calories.

 Pork, being the fattiest among the four meats, will have the highest calorie-content.

 Fish being the least fatty have the lowest calorie-content.

Significance of the Study

The Study is important as it will give the researchers better understanding with regards to

the calorie content of the different types of meat. This is also significant to community as it will

give us information which may be used in planning our respective diet. The students may also

benefit in this research as we are able to construct an improvised calorimeter used in measuring the

calorie-content of organic materials which may be used on other experiments and research.
Scope and Limitation

The Study focuses only on the calorie-content of the four meats. The measurement of the

temperature is using the conventional method which disregards other factors like exothermic

reaction and other physical phenomena affecting the experimental set-up by contributing in the

heat loss.

Definition of Terms

• calorie (cal)

A calorie, note the lowercase “c”, is a unit of energy equal to the amount of heat needed to

raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degrees Celsius from a standard initial

temperature at 1 atmosphere pressure. This calorie is also called the small calorie or the

gram calorie.

• kilocalorie (kcal)

A kilocalorie is equal to one thousand (1000) small calories (calorie). The kilocalorie is

equal to, or the same as the Calorie (note uppercase “C”), the kilogram calorie or large

calorie. The kilocalorie is the unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the

temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius at 1 atmosphere pressure. The

kilocalorie is widely used, especially by professional nutritionists.

• Calorie

A Calorie, note the uppercase “C”, is unit which is equal to the kilocalorie and is used to

express the heat output of an organism and the fuel or energy value of food. The Calorie is

a quantity of food capable of producing such an amount of energy. A Calorie is a unit of

energy-producing potential equal to this amount of heat that is contained in food and

released upon oxidation by the body. As with the kilocalorie, the Calorie is the unit of heat

equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1

degree Celsius at 1 atmosphere pressure. Another way the Calorie could be used and said

as is a unit of heat equal to the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1000

grams of water by one degree Celsius at 1 atmosphere pressure. This unit is used as a

measure of the energy released by food as it is digested by the human body. The Calorie is

also called the nutritionists calorie, kilocalorie, kilogram calorie, the large calorie, or the

food calorie.

• Calorimeter

A calorimeter is a device used for calorimetry, the science of measuring the heat of

chemical reactions or physical changes as well as measuring heat capacity. There are many

different types of calorimeters but a simple calorimeter, as the one we are going to use in

this project, just consists of using a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water in

a metal container which is suspended above a combustion chamber, where we are going to

test and burn the food.

• Oxidation

Oxidation is defined as the interaction and combination between oxygen molecules and all

the various types of different substances they may come in contact with. It is a chemical

reaction where there is a loss of at least one electron where two or more substances

interact. Those substances may or may not include oxygen. When the reaction involves

oxygen, the process of oxidation depends on the amount of oxygen present in the air and

the nature of the material it touches. We only see the large-scale effects as the oxygen

causes free radicals on the surface of one of the substances or materials to break away. For

this project all we will see is the burning of the food we will be testing, breaking and

burning away the radicals, or outer layers of the food, on the surface of our item. The

individual cells come in direct contact with the air and oxygen molecules start burning

them, as will what will happen and occur in this project. True oxidation happens on a

molecular level.

Chapter II – Review of Related Literature

Conceptual Literature


Calorimetry is the science of measuring the heat of chemical reactions or physical changes.

Calorimetry is performed with a calorimeter. The word calorimetry is derived from the Latin word

calor, meaning heat. Scottish physician and scientist Joseph Black, who was the first to recognize

the distinction between heat and temperature, is said to be the founder of calorimetry.
Indirect calorimetry calculates heat that living organisms produce from their production of

carbon dioxide and nitrogen waste (frequently ammonia in aquatic organisms, or urea in terrestrial

ones), OR from their consumption of oxygen. Lavoisier noted in 1780 that heat production can be

predicted from oxygen consumption this way, using multiple regression. The Dynamic Energy

Budget theory explains why this procedure is correct. Of course, heat generated by living

organisms may also be measured by direct calorimetry, in which the entire organism is placed

inside the calorimeter for the measurement.

Calculation of heat

The specific heat formula is as follows:


q is energy, or heat,

m is mass,

c is specific heat,

ΔT is change in temperature.
Meat nutritional information

All muscle tissue is very high in protein, containing all of the essential amino acids, and in

most cases is a good source of zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B6, choline,

riboflavin and iron. Several forms of meat are high in vitamin K2, which is only otherwise known

to be found in fermented foods, with natoo having the highest concentration. Muscle tissue is very

low in carbohydrates and does not contain dietary fiber. The fat content of meat can vary widely

depending on the species and breed of animal, the way in which the animal was raised, including

what it was fed, the anatomical part of the body, and the methods of butchering and cooking. Wild

animals such as deer are typically leaner than farm animals, leading those concerned about fat

content to choose game such as venison. Decades of breeding meat animals for fatness is being

reversed by consumer demand for meat with less fat.

Red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, contains many essential nutrients necessary for

healthy growth and development in children. Nutrients in red meat include iron, zinc, vitamin B12,

and protein. Most meats contain a full complement of the amino acids required for the human diet.

Fruits and vegetables, by contrast, are usually lacking several essential amino acids contained in

meat. It is for this reason that people who abstain from eating all meat need to plan their diet

carefully to include sources of all the necessary amino acids (See Section Issues of Meat for more

details) Typical Meat Nutritional Content

from 110 grams (4 oz or .25 lb)
Source calories protein carbs fat
The table in this section compares fish 110–140 20–25 g 0 g 1–5 g
chicken breast 160 28 g 0g 7g
the nutritional content of several types of
lamb 250 30 g 0 g 14 g
meat. While each kind of meat has about the steak (beef top round) 210 36 g 0g 7g
steak (beef T-bone) 450 25 g 0 g 35 g
same content of protein and carbohydrates, there is a very wide range of fat content. It is the
Table 2.1 Comparison of the Nutritional Content of
the different types of Meat
additional fat that contributes most to the calorie content of meat, and to concerns about dietary


Advantages and Disadvantages of Eating Meat.

Eating meat may be taboo for some people, especially vegetarians. Although it is not

always harmful, but for the sake of health it is better not to eat meat too often. So what are the

advantages and disadvantages of eating meat for health?

Meat contains a number of essential nutrients needed by the body to perform vital

metabolic functions, such as proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. All these nutrients are

responsible for providing energy and keeps your body healthy.

Here are some benefits of eating meat for health, according to Buzzle:

1. Protein

Meat is a rich source of protein, which is needed by the body in very high quantities.

Proteins play an important role for various body functions, including development, tissue

repair and formation of antibodies that fight infections.

In general, 19-20 percent protein are contained in meat. Meat is considered as high quality

protein because it contains almost all essential amino acids. Thus, eating meat can also

strengthen the immune system and helps fast recovery.

2. Mineral

Meat contains a number of minerals, especially rich in iron, zinc and selenium. The body

needs iron to form hemoglobin necessary for transporting oxygen from the lungs to other

body parts. Zinc increases metabolism and helps tissue formations. While selenium helps in

breaking fat and other chemicals in the body.

3. Vitamin

Vitamins which are most prominent in meat are vitamin A, B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6

and B12) and D.

Vitamin A promotes good vision, support the development of bones and teeth and

maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin B supports the central nervous system and improving

mental health. And vitamin D to increase calcium and phosphorus, which in turn maintain

healthy bones and teeth.

4. Fat

Fatty acids in meat are linoleic acid and palmiotelik. These fats can prevent the body from

cancer and harmful viruses. It can increase endurance from environment and conditions

which are not favorable. The body also needs fat for brain development.

But, besides the benefits above, eating meat without balancing with eating fruits,

vegetables and exercising could be harmful for health.

In the other hand, here are some disadvantages of consuming a lot of meat:

1. Meat contains no fiber

Fiber helps the digestive system in the body. Without fiber, the body is at high risk of

certain diseases such as cancer and heart problems. That’s why many people who eat meat

without balanced with other healthy lifestyle, are at high risk of cancer.
2. High saturated fat

Saturated fat, of course is not good for health. This is the main enemy for the blood vessels

and heart. The result, many people have cardiovascular disease because of the habit of

eating meat.

3. High in nitrate and salt

Processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, ham and others are very bad for health. Meat can

bring long-term negative effects because is contain many nitrates and salt as a preservative.

High content of nitrate and salt can cause high blood pressure and trigger cardiovascular

diseases like heart disease and stroke.

If you want to eat meat, try to always eat natural meat that is not preserved. And keep in

mind not to eat meat every day, give your body a break because meat is food that is hard to

digest. But meat is still needed for health, especially for children who are in its growth age.

Are Calories Bad for You? (Excerpts from the article “Learning about Calories”)

Calories aren't bad for you. Your body needs calories for energy. But eating too many

calories — and not burning enough of them off through activity — can lead to weight gain.

Most foods and drinks contain calories. Some foods, such as lettuce, contain few calories.

(A cup of shredded lettuce has less than 10 calories.) Other foods, like peanuts, contain a lot of

calories. (A half of a cup of peanuts has 427 calories.)

You can find out how many calories are in a food by looking at the nutrition facts label.

The label also will describe the components of the food — how many grams of carbohydrate,

protein, and fat it contains. Here's how many calories are in 1 gram of each:
• carbohydrate — 4 calories

• protein — 4 calories

• fat — 9 calories

That means if you know how many grams of each one are in a food, you can calculate the

total calories. You would multiply the number of grams by the number of calories in a gram of that

food component. For example, if a serving of potato chips (about 20 chips) has 10 grams of fat, 90

calories are from fat. That's 10 grams X 9 calories per gram.


Conceptual Framework
Chapter III – Methodology
Research Design

Design and
development of Construction of Experimental Algorithm
experimental set-up calorimeter design Development

Experimentation Data Sources

Data collection Quantitative Initial Analysis Qualitative

Tabulation and
Data Analysis Graphical

Discussion and

Homemade Calorimeter

• two tin cans - one larger than the other

• pencil

• cork

• needle

Other materials for doing the experiment:

• distilled water - 200mL for each food test

• Thermometer - calibrated in °C (degrees Celsius), range 20 - 100 or greater

• matches

• liquid measuring cup - (min. 200mL)

• can opener

• pen & paper

• spoon

• 15 g pork

• 15 g beef

• 15 g chicken meat

• 15 g fish meat

Constructing the calorimeter

1) Select two cans (one larger than the other) to build your calorimeter. They should nest inside

one another. The smaller can needs to sit high enough so that you can place the cork, needle

and food item beneath it.

2) Remove the top and bottom from the largest can so that you have a cylinder open on both


3) Use a drill with a 5/32 inch drill bit to drill holes in the bottom of the large can, to allow air

to in to sustain the flame.

4) Drill holes with an 11/32 inch drill bit at opposite sides of the smaller can for the support to

pass through. For this project I used a pencil for the support. Make sure the support is longer

than the width the large can.

5) Grasp the needle with your hands and push its blunt end into the cork. You will put the food

to be tested on the sharp end of the needle.

6) The smaller can will hold the water to be heated by burning the food samples. Use the liquid

measuring cup to measure the amount of water used; the can should be about half-full. Put the

supporting rod in place through the two holes.


1) Fill the small can about half-way with 200mL of distilled water.

2) Measure the initial temperature (Ti) of the water.

3) Put the food item (5g) on the needle.

4) Have your calorimeter pieces close at hand, and ready for use.

5) Place the cork on a non-flammable surface. Light the food item.

6) When the food catches fire, immediately place the large can around the cork, then carefully place

the smaller can in place above the flame.

7) Allow the food item to burn itself out.

8) Carefully remove the small can by holding the ends of the supporting rod, and place it on a flat,

heat-proof surface.

9) Carefully stir the water and measure the final temperature (Tf). Make sure the thermometer has

reached a steady level before recording the value.

10) When the burnt food item has cooled, carefully remove it from the needle.

11) Repeat these steps for all of the food items.

12) Repeat steps 1-10 for the trial 2 and 3.

13) Analyze your data. Calculate the calories for each of the foods that you tested.

Calculating Calories for the foods:

The increase in the temperature (in °C) times the mass of the water (in g) will give you the

amount of energy captured by the calorimeter, in calories. We can write this in the form of an

Qwater = mcΔT

The formula is as followed:

• Qwater is the heat captured, in calories (cal);

• m is the mass of the water, in grams (g); m = 200 mL = 200 grams of water

• c is the specific heat capacity of water, which is 1 cal/g°C (1 calorie per gram per degree

Celsius); and

• ΔT is the change in temperature (the final temperature of the water minus the initial

temperature of the water), in degrees Celsius (°C).

How to use the formula:

Qwater = mcΔT

=200g × 1 cal/g°C × (Final Temperature °C –Initial Temperature °C)

=200g × 1 cal × (Difference in temperature; no degrees Celsius symbol)

= Amount of calories

*Note - Notice that the grams (g) from the mass of the water and the degrees Celsius (°C) from the

change in temperature cancel out with the grams (g) and degrees Celsius (°C) in the denominator

of the units for specific heat. That way you are left with units of calories (cal).

Data Gathering

Ti = Initial Temperature

Tf = Final Temperature
Chapter IV – Data Presentation, Interpretation and Analysis
Table 41 Temperature Measurements

Trial I Trial II Trial III Average

Test Items
Ti Tf ∆T Ti Tf ∆T Ti Tf ∆T Ti Tf ∆T
Pork 28 34 6 26 54 28 32 46 14 28.67 44.67 16.00
Beef 28 44 16 30 46 16 28 52 24 28.67 47.33 18.67
Chicken 24 34 10 32 44 12 32 52 20 29.33 43.33 14.00
Fish 30 38 8 30 38 8 30 34 4 30.00 36.67 6.67

Ti Temperature Initial*
Tf Temperature Final*
∆T Change in Temperature
*All Temperature must be in degrees Centigrade

Table 42 Calories Burned

Trial I Trial I Trial I Average

Test Items
∆T c C ∆T c C ∆T c C ∆T c C
Pork 6 1200 1.2 28 5600 5.6 14 2800 2.8 16.00 3200.00 3.20
Beef 16 3200 3.2 16 3200 3.2 24 4800 4.8 18.67 3733.33 3.73
Chicken 10 2000 2 12 2400 2.4 20 4000 4 14.00 2800.00 2.80
Fish 8 1600 1.6 8 1600 1.6 4 800 0.8 6.67 1333.33 1.33

∆T Change in Temperature
c small calorie
C Kilocalorie
Note: The kilocalorie (C) is the unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of
water by 1 degree Celsius at 1 atmosphere pressure.

Temperature Recorded


Degrees Centigrade

40 Pork
20 Fish

Ti Tf Ti Tf Ti Tf Ti Tf

Trial I Trial II Trial III Average

Graph 4.1 Recorded Temperature for the three trials and average

Temperature Change

Degrees Centirgrade

20 Trial I ∆T
Trial II ∆T
Trial III ∆T
Average ∆T
Pork Beef Chicken Fish
Meat Type

Graph 4.2 Calculated Temperature Change for the three trials and average
Calorie(small) Content of Meat


4000 Trial I c
Trial I c

Trial I c
Average c
Pork Beef Chicken Fish
Meat Type

Graph 4.3 Calculated Calorie (small) for the three trials and average

Calorie(Big) Content of Meat

4 Trial I C
Trial I C

Trial I C
Average C
Pork Beef Chicken Fish
Meat Type

Graph 4.4 Calculated Calorie (Big) for the three trials and average

Note: 1 Kcal = 1000 cal

Results and Discussion
For pork meat the recorded temperature are as follows. Trial 1, the initial temperature is

28°C and the final temperature is 34°C with a difference of 6°C. Trial 2, the initial temperature is

26°C and the temperature final is 54°C with a difference of 28°C. Trial 3, the initial temperature is

32°C and the final temperature is 46°C with a difference of 14°C. The average initial temperature

is 28.67°C and the average final is 44.67°C with a difference of 16°C.

For beef the recorded temperature are as follows. Trial 1, the initial temperature is 28°C

and the final temperature is 44°C with a difference of 16°C. Trial 2, the initial temperature is 30°C

and the temperature final is 46°C with a difference of 16°C. Trial 3, the initial temperature is 28°C

and the final temperature is 52°C with a difference of 24°C. The average initial temperature is

28.67°C and the average final is 47.33°C with a difference of 18.67°C.

For chicken meat the recorded temperature are as follows. Trial 1, the initial temperature is

24°C and the final temperature is 34°C with a difference of 10°C. Trial 2, the initial temperature is

32°C and the temperature final is 44°C with a difference of 12°C. Trial 3, the initial temperature is

32°C and the final temperature is 52°C with a difference of 20°C. The average initial temperature

is 29.33°C and the average final is 43.33°C with a difference of 14°C.

For pork meat the recorded temperature are as follows. Trial 1, the initial temperature is

30°C and the final temperature is 38°C with a difference of 8°C. Trial 2, the initial temperature is

30°C and the temperature final is 38°C with a difference of 8°C. Trial 3, the initial temperature is
30°C and the final temperature is 34°C with a difference of 4°C. The average initial temperature is

30.00°C and the average final is 36.67°C with a difference of 6.67°C.


The researchers conclude that among the four types of meat it is beef which contains the

most number of calories which disproves the hypothesis that it is pork which contains the greatest

number of calories. It is also found out that fish contains the least number of calories which

supports the hypothesis. The results also pave to the generalization that external factors affect the

data causing a variance in the recorded temperature.



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Internet Sources



Appendix I - Documentation
Appendix III – Time Table

Research Selection Writing the Submission
for a topic of topic research of research
proposal proposal
January 16
Appendix III – Curriculum Vitae