Is air 'EXACTLY' zero calories?

Science says yes, but nature may differ.

I for one do not believe that air is exactly zero calories on point.


I believe that yes, you may as well say that it is zero calories, but considering all of the particles and substances that are in the air, the number may differ by a slight decimal that doesn't impact us in anyway.

I could be wrong who knows.

So my ultimate question is:

Is air EXACTLY ZERO calories, or is it slightly off on average (I'm talking about like 0.0000something, etc).

Please don't think I'm stupid I know nothing about science and I'd appreciate a simple answer. Thanks.


While we're at it, might as well ask whether water has exactly zero calories on average.

3 Answers

  • 2 years ago

    But you're equivocating on the word "air"

    To me, air is a gas, composed of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, some argon, CO2 and a few other gases. Air is _not_ dust particles, flakes of dead skin and other such debris. Air has no calories. Air is capable of transporting biological material which could be measured as having a tiny caloric value. You are treating air as the sum of all of these things.

    Decide on a proper definition of "air" before asking your question

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    "Science says yes...I know nothing about science"

    Then maybe don't put words in science's mouth. :)

    First you need to understand what a calorie is. A calorie is a unit of energy, like joules or watt-hours. So the question you've asked is: does matter (specifically, air) contain energy?

    And the answer is, yes. As Einstein found, the amount of energy that matter contains is equal to its mass times the speed of light squared.

    But this probably isn't what you mean. Usually when people think of calories, they think of metabolism. As human beings, we cannot metabolize air or water. However, air does contain trace amounts of methane, which some bacteria can metabolize, though not at such low concentrations.

  • Huh
    Lv 6
    2 years ago

    The way that calories are actually calculated is you take of small sample of known mass.

    You burn that sample and calculate how much burns out.

    Calculate the difference in temperature transferred to a water through in a Styrofoam cup above it.

    Q = (mass of water) * (heat capacity of water) * (change in temperature of water).

    That "Q" gives you the heat which is the calories, and then you can calculate the calories per gram of food burned as a ratio.

    You cannot burn water and you cannot burn air, so the calories of water and air are not measurable or meaningless. If you breathed a certain concentration of more oxygenated air, and someone else breathed normally oxygenated air and you lost more weight it would be because oxygen increases your rate of metabolism. But don't do that because too much oxygen or too less oxygen is dangerous for your body.

    Industrially, more professional non-Styrofoam vessels are used to measure calories, but they still can't burn air or water. (The vessel has to not have a heat capacity that changes much with increasing temperature. I think that term is adiabatic. )The philosophy of calories assumes that our bodies are heat engines and we burn stuff to get energy. We don't actually burn stuff, but our metabolism does keep our body temperature up to 37 degrees centigrade.

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