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# Thread: When portioning food, do you weigh food raw or after cooking?

1. ## When portioning food, do you weigh food raw or after cooking?

I'm getting really confused here. If I measure out a 1/4 cup of rice raw, then after cooking it's expanded out so much, that I'm really only getting probably an 1/8th of a cup of rice.

Same with pasta. I put in 4oz of Spaghetti dry, then after boiling and weighing out, I still have a lot of left over spaghetti noodles.

Beef, I weighed out a 1/4lb, cooked it and it cooked down to an 1/8th of a pound.

I really need to figure this out, so I can get my macros and diet right.

Thanks!

2. It depends on how you're counting the calories. If the pasta box says 48g dry (usually this is the case even if it doesn't say dry) then weigh it dry. I weigh meat cooked and count the calories for it as cooked because weighing raw food is more time consuming/gross.

3. Originally Posted by MuscleXtreme
I'm getting really confused here. If I measure out a 1/4 cup of rice raw, then after cooking it's expanded out so much, that I'm really only getting probably an 1/8th of a cup of rice.

Same with pasta. I put in 4oz of Spaghetti dry, then after boiling and weighing out, I still have a lot of left over spaghetti noodles.

Beef, I weighed out a 1/4lb, cooked it and it cooked down to an 1/8th of a pound.

I really need to figure this out, so I can get my macros and diet right.

Thanks!

So after thinking about logically, I finally figured out the solution, that there is really not any difference.. I just have to make sure to proportion out the meals afterwards to get what I was planning.

So if 4oz of raw chicken yields 36g of protein, then after cooking the chicken now weighs 3oz but it would still have 36g of protein.

Same for pasta. If it doubles in weight, it's not gaining any additional macros from the water. It still has the same macro content as when weighed raw, just double the amount due to water weight. So if I was preparing for two separate meals, I would just divide the total weight of the cooked past in half, to get the same macro portion as I had been planning before.

I really feel like a dunce now after thinking about it.

4. Originally Posted by MuscleXtreme
So after thinking about logically, I finally figured out the solution, that there is really not any difference.. I just have to make sure to proportion out the meals afterwards to get what I was planning.

So if 4oz of raw chicken yields 36g of protein, then after cooking the chicken now weighs 3oz but it would still have 36g of protein.

Same for pasta. If it doubles in weight, it's not gaining any additional macros from the water. It still has the same macro content as when weighed raw, just double the amount due to water weight. So if I was preparing for two separate meals, I would just divide the total weight of the cooked past in half, to get the same macro portion as I had been planning before.

I really feel like a dunce now after thinking about it.
"So if 4oz of raw chicken yields 36g of protein, then after cooking the chicken now weighs 3oz but it would still have 36g of protein."

Then you must assume the people that measured the calories measured the chicken in raw form. This assumption is not clearly stated on nutrition labels therefore causing confusion with people, me included.

The question still remains. In other words, are calories measured with uncooked chicken (e.g. composed of 1 parts water, 3 parts meat) or are calories measured with cooked chicken (e.g. composed of .5 parts water, 3 parts meat).

I do agree with your statement although there's a fallacy in it. The fallacy is of knowing weather the nutrients are based from raw (heavy) vs. cooked (light). I understand for simplicity sake, the nutrition within the meat stays the same before and after cooking.

I'm specifically talking about the composition of water and meat only.

An example I was thinking of:

-Assuming that the caloric measurements are determined with raw meat.
-Assuming that raw meat weighing 4 oz weighs less after being cooked (maybe losing a total of 1 oz from water, oil, etc).

+Therefore raw (4oz chicken) is more than cooked (3oz chicken).

-4 oz raw chicken = ~36g protein.
-1 oz raw chicken = ~9g protein.

From here we can easily "convert" from raw meat to cooked meat weight to determine caloric value. But all measurements were measured with water weight in the first place (assumption listed). Basing all of this math and reasoning on an assumption only.

This would all be different if it was initially measure with not raw meat but cooked meat.

The composition of nutrients and calories may be the same with a piece of meat uncooked vs cooked. But who's to say what weight they based those measurements from.

5. I prefer to weigh it raw because the numbers change so much with various cooking methods. I weigh cooked pretty often though because I cook a lot of food in bulk at the beginning of every week. Raw will be most accurate but a few calories one way or the other isn't going to throw off your day too much.

Edit: I'm pretty sure they base the calories off raw numbers. I know my calorie counter has raw chicken breast listed in it.

6. Weigh everything raw/dry for consistency.

Carbs absorb water during cooking (getting bigger and heavier), proteins release water (getting smaller and lighter).

Method and time of cooking will affect the weight of food differently.

7. Originally Posted by MikeK46
Weigh everything raw/dry for consistency.

Carbs absorb water during cooking (getting bigger and heavier), proteins release water (getting smaller and lighter).

Method and time of cooking will affect the weight of food differently.
True. Also beginning fat content. 4oz of 80/20 beef will lose more fat after cooking than 93/7, especially if you use something like an outdoor or Foreman grill.

93/7 will change in weight very little, while the 80/20 will lose a lot more.

True. Also beginning fat content. 4oz of 80/20 beef will lose more fat after cooking than 93/7, especially if you use something like an outdoor or Foreman grill.

93/7 will change in weight very little, while the 80/20 will lose a lot more.
Yea, the more fat the more it will lose, but even on something like a Foreman, i'm pretty sure it's mostly the juices (water) that escape, with minimal fat loss.

9. so you measure your food.

lets say 7 oz of 93/7 ground beef cooked.

According to fitness pal this is about 298 cals. yet 7 oz = 198 grams ....making those 198 g of ideal protein = ~800 calories.

You can see the issue.

298 vs ~800. that is a huge surplus.

10. Originally Posted by leoaa777

lets say 7 oz of 93/7 ground beef cooked.

According to fitness pal this is about 298 cals. yet 7 oz = 198 grams ....making those 198 g of ideal protein = ~800 calories.

You can see the issue.

298 vs ~800. that is a huge surplus.
not all of the meat (even cooked) is protein or even protein+fat.

11. Originally Posted by MetilHed
not all of the meat (even cooked) is protein or even protein+fat.
Understood, but after being cooked it loses a significant amount of water.

How does it explain the 500 cal surplus? 298 vs 800. The 298 takes into account the fat and protein

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