Did you know that your macros vary based on whether your product is cooked or raw?
It is a very common question: Should I track raw weight or cooked weight? And although most nutrition labels will have the info for the raw weight (unless specified as “cooked” in the serving size), as long as you stick to one tracking method- and stay consistent, you are fine! However, let’s break it down a little more so you know the most ideal way to track it.
Generally- measuring your food while it is raw will be the most accurate way to track your nutrition.
When you cook your meat, it will shrink by approximately 25%, due to the loss of water. So, for example, 4 oz of raw ground beef will end up being about 3 oz cooked. 8 oz of raw chicken will be about 6 oz cooked. Although the meat will weigh less, the nutritional value remains the same. (ex: 4 oz of raw beef and 3 oz of cooked beef will contain the same calories/macros, the weight just changes because the meat lost water) this is why we want to keep it consistent with whatever method of tracking you choose to use!
Raw to cooked: Raw weight x 0.75 (example: 4 oz raw x 0.75 = 3 oz cooked)
Cooked to raw: Cooked weight / 0.75 (example: 6 oz cooked / 0.75 = 8 oz raw)
Rice does the opposite of meat. Because rice is dry and we are adding water to cook, the product will actually double in size. So, if you have 2 oz of uncooked rice, it will end up being about 3 times heavier once it absorbs water in its cooked state. The best way to easily track is to divide out your servings equally once cooked.
So you may be asking, how can I convert the weight of a cooked item to raw, and vice versa for tracking consistency? Remember that this is never an exact science. Different cooking methods will bring about different results. For instance, using a marinade for your meat or a larger shape of pasta. Truthfully these differences are insignificant to your results, so just keep consistent and do the best you can!
Dry to cooked: Dry weight x 2.25 (example: 2 oz dry x 2.25 = 4.5 oz cooked)
Cooked to dry: Cooked weight / 2.25 (example: 8 oz cooked / 2.25 = 3.5 oz dry)
White Rice Conversion:
Raw to cooked: Raw weight x 3 (example: 2 oz raw x 3 = 6 oz cooked)
Cooked to raw: Cooked weight / 3 (example: 6 oz cooked / 3 = 2 oz raw)
Brown Rice Conversion:
Raw to cooked: Raw weight x 2 (example: 2 oz raw x 2 = 4 oz cooked)
Cooked to raw: Cooked weight / 2 (example: 8 oz cooked / 2 = 4 oz raw)
What is most ideal when measuring your food for macro tracking?
The most accurate way to track is to weigh the product while it is raw. If you cook 2 oz of raw rice, you will likely result in 6 oz of cooked rice. However, if you choose to weigh and measure after it is cooked, that is just fine. Utilize the conversion equations above if you prefer. Overall, stick to one tracking method and keep it consistent!
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