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  1. #1
    Registered User JAnthony86's Avatar
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    Exclamation Homemade Meals - Calories per weight, cooked vs raw ingredients

    Hello everyone, I would really (really) appreciate some help here!

    My current calorie / nutrient tracking means I will weigh out food prior to cooking if possible (Or use the pre-calculated labels on food packaging).

    However, it gets really complicated (somehow?)...

    Let's say I'm making a curry in the slow cooker, for the whole family.
    If I add 700g of chicken, 400g tinned tomatoes, 240g bell pepper, and 240g tinned chickpeas, drained (for simplicity). This might equal about 1207 calories in a total of 1580g curry - but that's raw.

    When cooked, that amount of chicken might typically weigh around 538g, and maybe the pepper around 200g, due to loss of water content. And what if I add in potato or something else which might lose weight?

    Must I figure out individual ingredient losses etc when all of them and mixed together in a single meal?

    Because a slow cooker has a lid, is moisture well-retained? Will the total weight really change? I can't exactly weigh my entire slow cooker or all of its contents which everyone has to eat.

    Basically, if I'm cooking in a slow cooker, or perhaps on the stovetop making something which is is high in water content naturally, such as curry or stew, is the moisture content lost? Do I have to recalculate for every ingredient (which would typically take a VERY long time)?

    Thank you so so much in advance for anyone who can help me out here! It's a little confusing


    P.S. I apologise if this problem has already been spoken about, but I could find no direct answer in the forum.
    P.P.S. Please forgive such a long text.
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  2. #2
    Registered User rtpmarine's Avatar
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    The information on nutritional labels typically refers to the food’s raw form. The exception to this is food which is intended to be cooked the same way every time, or has specific cooking instructions.

    While it’s true that cooking food changes the nutritional impact, its kind of splitting hairs if your goal is weight change. Most foods lose calories during cooking because fat is melted away, but some foods like red meats can also gain calories because the cooking breaks down collagen making the digestion easier.

    In your example, I wouldn’t expect the nutritional value of chicken to change much at all because chicken is typically pretty lean. The loss of mass just indicates that chicken pieces are separated into the stew.

    If you want to weigh your food post-cooking then I’m sure it will be slightly more accurate, but using raw numbers will easily get you close enough to affect weight change.
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  3. #3
    Registered User JAnthony86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rtpmarine View Post
    The information on nutritional labels typically refers to the food’s raw form. The exception to this is food which is intended to be cooked the same way every time, or has specific cooking instructions.

    While it’s true that cooking food changes the nutritional impact, its kind of splitting hairs if your goal is weight change. Most foods lose calories during cooking because fat is melted away, but some foods like red meats can also gain calories because the cooking breaks down collagen making the digestion easier.

    In your example, I wouldn’t expect the nutritional value of chicken to change much at all because chicken is typically pretty lean. The loss of mass just indicates that chicken pieces are separated into the stew.

    If you want to weigh your food post-cooking then I’m sure it will be slightly more accurate, but using raw numbers will easily get you close enough to affect weight change.
    Thanks for such a prompt response! My goal is current Body Recomposition, at least until I bulk. I see what you mean, and currently I have been weighing food post cooking but using the raw values, which could mean that I've been eating more than I thought.

    Some figures keep suggesting to weigh it all raw - especially meat. Like in a chili con carne, for example, some 10% fat beef mince could lose up to 25% of its weight in water loss, but I'm not sure whether in a slow cooker that will remain in the dish itself.

    Would you recommend multiplying the nutrition anyway? (Basically multiplying the amount I serve myself by 0.75 - or inversely calculating the nutrients multiplied by 1.3).

    I really appreciate your help
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  4. #4
    Registered User rtpmarine's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on whether you consume the broth or not. Any fat that gets separated away from the main chunk of meat is still contained in the liquid, so if you don’t drain it away then you’re still consuming a lot of it.

    If you’re putting in all the effort of weighing ingredients post-cooking, then yeah you might as well capture the slight adjustments in your calculations. But I think you can get close enough using raw numbers. Just remember that either way you go about it, the most important thing is to make weekly adjustments based on weight change.
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    Registered User JAnthony86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rtpmarine View Post
    I guess it depends on whether you consume the broth or not. Any fat that gets separated away from the main chunk of meat is still contained in the liquid, so if you don’t drain it away then you’re still consuming a lot of it.

    If you’re putting in all the effort of weighing ingredients post-cooking, then yeah you might as well capture the slight adjustments in your calculations. But I think you can get close enough using raw numbers. Just remember that either way you go about it, the most important thing is to make weekly adjustments based on weight change.
    That makes sense, thanks for clarifying! What I do is make the food, write the total weight (raw), but measure the weight of one serving (cooked) and then divide that by the total weight to get a multiplier for calories and macronutrients. If I'm correct, it would be better to just stick with that method for dishes like curry, chili, stew, etc. and adjust when moisture loss is more significant (such as a roast joint)?
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    Registered User rtpmarine's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JAnthony86 View Post
    That makes sense, thanks for clarifying! What I do is make the food, write the total weight (raw), but measure the weight of one serving (cooked) and then divide that by the total weight to get a multiplier for calories and macronutrients. If I'm correct, it would be better to just stick with that method for dishes like curry, chili, stew, etc. and adjust when moisture loss is more significant (such as a roast joint)?
    Yeah, you’re on point. I’m too lazy—I just take the number of raw nutrients that goes into the pot and divide by how much of it I eat. If I put in 150 grams protein and eat about a third of the final product, then I record 50 grams protein.

    Your way is a little more work but definitely a little more accurate, too.
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    Registered User JAnthony86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rtpmarine View Post
    Yeah, you’re on point. I’m too lazy—I just take the number of raw nutrients that goes into the pot and divide by how much of it I eat. If I put in 150 grams protein and eat about a third of the final product, then I record 50 grams protein.

    Your way is a little more work but definitely a little more accurate, too.
    Awesome, thanks a lot for helping me out here. I would've developed a headache sooner or later - there's not much on such a specific topic I could find!

    I appreciate your time, I'll take note of what you said and try to calculate it approximately (mostly dividing meat tbh). Best of wishes to you,
    James
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