Foods
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Weighing Before or After Cooking


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When should I weigh my food?  I know it depends on whether or not the cooked food absorbs or loses water weight.  But when is it most appropriate to count into my caloric intake, before or after cooking?
8 Replies (last)
#1  
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Depends on the item, but uncooked is usually the most reliable.
#2  
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What is the rationale for weighing food before it's cooked?  An ounce is an ounce, whether it's before or after adding heat....therefore, I'm not sure that reliability is compromised.  When do you measure/weigh your foods?  
#3  
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That's not true.

For things like oatmeal and spaghetti, the post-cooking weight can vary substantially based on how much water was used, and how well it was cooked. The same thing applies to meat - at least 1 oz is usually lost in the cooking process, but sometimes more, and sometimes less depending on how well done it was cooked.

I always measure uncooked.
#4  
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Right dm84, but an ounce of water logged oatmeal and an ounce of dry spaghetti is still just that....one ounce.  I'm still not convinced that I should weigh pre-heat, when that's not at all what I consume.  Shouldn't I want to weigh exactly what I'm eating, not what it was before I cooked it?  I'm sorry, but I'm really having a tough time with this concept.  
#5  
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Oatmeal and spaghetti can bomb out to 2-3x the dry weight depending on the cooking process each time.

The nutritional info is all based on dry weight because there is no way to accurately measure how much actual spaghetti is in 1 oz of it once it's cooked.

Think of it this way, the most accurate time to weigh yourself is when you get up in the morning just after you go to the bathroom. The reason? Water weight. Your weight can fluctuate several pounds during the course of the day. The weight of food can fluctuate depending on just how much water is absorbed or fat was lost.

An ounce is an ounce, but the density of 1 oz of cooked food is different each and every time, which is why all nutritional information labels list info for the dry weight, not the cooked weight.

This becomes difficult if you cook more than you intend to eat at one time, which is why any nutritional information that is based on cooked weight isn't really that accurate. I personally cook only what I intend to eat, and when I do cook to make leftovers, I always make them after I'm done eating my current meal.
#6  
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Thanks dm84, I'm starting to grasp it.  Is this even true for meats, which lose water weight during cooking?  Sunday I had a home- prepared sirloin steak.  I grilled it, cut it, weighed it @ 3.5 oz and that's what I logged. Now I wonder how drastically off I was. 
if it lost water while cooking, then it has lost some weight, but no calories, so it will weight less but have as much in as it did before, but you dont know how much water was lost, so you cant be sure what ratio of meat to water is left,

so you should use the raw values. but there should be a cooked example somewhere in the database, id use that to work out the calories, as the ratio will be closer, but not exact

do a search for sirloin steak grilled and it will come up with a list of options depending on how lean it was
I weigh my food as I'm cooking it.  I jot it down and then log it later. this works well for one dish meals or if I'm just cooking one serving for myself.  If I've cooked a family meal, I weigh my portions cooked, right on my plate.  I have a digital scale that allows you to zero out after each addition to the plate.
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