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Chapter 1. Basic Concepts in Nutrition

Units of Measure

In nutrition, there are two systems of commonly used measurements: Metric and US Customary. We need both because the US won’t adopt the metric system completely.

The Metric and US Customary System

These are commonly used prefixes for the Metric System:

Micro- (μ) 1/1,000,000th (one millionth)
Milli- (m) 1/1000th (one thousandth)
Centi- (c) 1/100th (one hundredth)
Deci- (d) 1/10th (one tenth)
Kilo- (k) 1000x (one thousand times)

Mass

Metric System US Customary System Conversions
Microgram (μg) Ounce (oz) 1 oz = 28.35 g
Milligram (mg) Pound (lb) 1 lb = 16 oz
Gram (g) 1 lb = 454 g
Kilogram (kg) 1 kg = 2.2 lbs

Volume

Metric System US Customary System Conversions
Milliliter (mL) Teaspoon (tsp) 1 tsp = 5 mL
Deciliter (dL) Tablespoon (tbsp) 1 tbsp = 3 tsp = 15 mL
Liter (L) Fluid ounce (fl oz) 1 fl oz = 2 tbsp = 30 mL
Cup (c) 1 c = 8 fl oz = 237 mL
Pint (pt) 1 pt = 2 c = 16 fl oz
Quart (qt) 1 qt = 4 c = 32 fl oz = 0.95 L
Gallon (gal) = 4 qt 1 gal = 4 qt

Length

Metric System US Customary System Conversions
Millimeter (mm) Inch (in) 1 in = 25.4 mm
Centimeter (cm) Foot (ft) 1 ft= 30.5 cm
Meter (m) Yard (yd) 1 yd = 0.9 m
Kilometer (km) Mile (mi) 1 mi = 1.6 km