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TOPIC: Raw meat versus cooked meat weights in journal

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September 21, 2011 10:54 AM
Say you take 6 oz of raw ground beef and it turns into a 4(ish) ounce hamburger after grilling...do you then log it in as 4 oz or 6 oz and how can you tell if the nutrients/calorie info is accurate? Same thing with any other meats I cook. Do you count the weight before or after cooking it?
  369616
September 21, 2011 10:55 AM
Nutrition labels are usually based on raw weight, so I log raw.
September 21, 2011 11:02 AM
Good question, I wondered about that one. They're very clever here someone will know. just watch.
September 21, 2011 11:04 AM
Most things are calculated by raw weight unless it's a precooked item sold cooked.
September 21, 2011 11:06 AM
But if you grill meat and lose the fat, surely there,s less cals than if you ate it raw. Makes sense to me anyway.
September 21, 2011 11:11 AM
I use cooked weight, meat can shrink by as much as 2 ounces. You want to weigh after cooking, calories stay the same however.
We don't know how much something will shrink.
  3483639
September 21, 2011 11:16 AM
QUOTE:

I use cooked weight, meat can shrink by as much as 2 ounces. You want to weigh after cooking, calories stay the same however.
We don't know how much something will shrink.
This doesn't make sense. Say a nutrition label on a package of raw chicken says 4 oz is equal to 100 calories. This would mean that the weight after cooking would be less for that same 100 calories. If you log 4 oz of the chicken based on the weight after cooking it, the calorie content will be more because it will actually have started out as 6 oz of chicken (as an example- I don't know what the actual weight would be).
September 21, 2011 11:23 AM
Just as our bodies are made mostly of water so are those of the animals we eat. The vast majority of weight lost due to cooking is fluid. So the nutritional value of the meat changes very little even if it shrinks a lot. Even the amount of fat lost in the "grease" is quite small in proportion to the overall amount of fat. Go with Pre-cooked weight and values.
  9667440
September 21, 2011 11:25 AM
I think it's more an issue of preferred weight for me. I actually want to have the amount I calculate in my recipes. I don't do the watching of calories as much as I do portion control. If you eat the alloted portion per serving your calories will stay in range as they should. Does that make sense!
  3483639
September 21, 2011 11:36 AM
That's what I was thinking! :)
  369616
September 21, 2011 11:55 AM
No matter how you choose to weigh your foods, Good Luck with your weight loss smile
  3483639
September 22, 2011 12:20 PM
Thanks, Deb! And thanks for all the answers! I'm going to go with the "It's mostly fluid loss, and not much fat, so use pre-cooking weight" answer. I'd rather err on the counting too many calories than not counting enough!

thanks everyone who answered me!
  369616
September 23, 2011 8:58 AM
Raw.
when i did weight watchers, we were taught everything is based upon raw weight.
  423620
September 24, 2011 9:55 AM
It would depend on what you are cooking. From previous work in the fast food industry (20 years ago) and dealing with meat distributors I know that the meat weights are not altogether true. Ever wonder why when you thaw and cook frozen ground beef, ground turkey or chicken/turkey breasts you end up with a lot of water?? Solid cuts of meat (steaks and chops etc) are ok, weights should be taken raw with visible fat removed.

In the case of chicken/turkey breast meat most of the time (unless you are very careful) they have been injected with flavor enhancers in a water base... which adds calories, sodium and weight. When you freeze such enhanced breasts the liquid expands and crystallizes inside the meat, creating minute tears, and when you thaw and cook it the liquid escapes leaving behind the sodium and other flavor enhancers and a lot of water to evaporate during cooking.

A similar process is used on ground meats, minus the flavor enhancers. I know for a fact that one of the major fast food meat distributors mix in ice to the ground beef before forming the patties. The meat is at near freezing, ground ice is mixed in, the patties formed and flash frozen. The result is your typical 1/4 to 1/3 pound beef patty... weighed frozen. Take that same patty and let it thaw completely, put it between paper towels and give it a squeeze. You just lost up to 25% of your weight. This particular distributor is very proud of the fact that they can reduce the cost of the end product in this way, you get more meat patties per pound of actual meat. It creates massive shrinkage in the cooked product.

Based on the amount of water that accumulates in the pan now when I cook hamburger or ground turkey (damn near poaching instead of dry frying) that practice has found its way into the grocery store. I remember as a kid we would form our own 1/4 lb hamburger patties and have a nice sized burger that filled you up! Now it's like you make your own patty, cook it...."where's the beef??"
September 29, 2011 5:01 AM
QUOTE:

It would depend on what you are cooking. From previous work in the fast food industry (20 years ago) and dealing with meat distributors I know that the meat weights are not altogether true. Ever wonder why when you thaw and cook frozen ground beef, ground turkey or chicken/turkey breasts you end up with a lot of water?? Solid cuts of meat (steaks and chops etc) are ok, weights should be taken raw with visible fat removed.

In the case of chicken/turkey breast meat most of the time (unless you are very careful) they have been injected with flavor enhancers in a water base... which adds calories, sodium and weight. When you freeze such enhanced breasts the liquid expands and crystallizes inside the meat, creating minute tears, and when you thaw and cook it the liquid escapes leaving behind the sodium and other flavor enhancers and a lot of water to evaporate during cooking.

A similar process is used on ground meats, minus the flavor enhancers. I know for a fact that one of the major fast food meat distributors mix in ice to the ground beef before forming the patties. The meat is at near freezing, ground ice is mixed in, the patties formed and flash frozen. The result is your typical 1/4 to 1/3 pound beef patty... weighed frozen. Take that same patty and let it thaw completely, put it between paper towels and give it a squeeze. You just lost up to 25% of your weight. This particular distributor is very proud of the fact that they can reduce the cost of the end product in this way, you get more meat patties per pound of actual meat. It creates massive shrinkage in the cooked product.

Based on the amount of water that accumulates in the pan now when I cook hamburger or ground turkey (damn near poaching instead of dry frying) that practice has found its way into the grocery store. I remember as a kid we would form our own 1/4 lb hamburger patties and have a nice sized burger that filled you up! Now it's like you make your own patty, cook it...."where's the beef??"


Great info, good point!
  3483639
February 22, 2012 11:44 AM
Great info. This morning I took out 5 frozen chicken breast tenders (one of the top 3 chicken suppliers in the world) to put in the crock-pot so I could have shredded chicken for lunch today. I knocked off as much of the ice crystals on each one as I could, and weighed them as a whole. The weight this morning was 11.64oz total for the frozen chicken. That way I knew to divide the cooked chicken up into 3 servings after it was cooked to get ~4oz per serving nutrition. When I came home at lunch I shredded the cooked chicken, and weighed it all to make sure I divided it up in 3 equal servings. The cooked weight was ~6.7oz! That's just a bit more than half the frozen weight! So if I had logged that I ate 4oz of this cooked chicken, and didn't confirm whether the log entry I was selecting was for frozen/raw or for cooked chicken, I would've been eating almost twice as much calorie/nutrition-wise as I was logging.
  5110833
February 28, 2014 9:33 AM
the problem it though if I am cooking a loin and cutting off a chuck and eating it I am going to do that after cooking instead of before. I record my intake based on cooked weight for everything…. Am I actually eat way more calories than I think?
February 28, 2014 9:39 AM
I agree this is frustrating, especially with higher fat meats. For example:

I weighed boneless skinelss chicken thighs on wednesday - 22oz raw and then 12.5 oz cooked. Then I made a different pack of chicken thights (same brand) last night and it was 18.7oz raw and 12.0oz cooked. The nutrition facts on the package were 180 cals for 3oz cooked. The only thnig I can think of is that one package had more "juice" aka water and/or more fat that cooked off.

FWIW when I cook boneless skinless chicken breast it is consistently 16oz raw = 12oz cooked.
  10275496
February 28, 2014 9:41 AM
I just use the USDA cooked weights. They're in the database.
  36013378
February 28, 2014 9:45 AM
Basic Rule of Thumb ... Nutritional information reflects the weight of the product as it is sold. If its sold raw its the raw weight.
February 28, 2014 9:48 AM
I go with whatever the label says, if it scans I go with it.
  15354794
February 28, 2014 9:51 AM
i wonder about the same thing with pasta. Do you weigh uncooked or cooked? Let's face it 2oz is not a lot either way. LOL
February 28, 2014 9:51 AM
I log by raw weight because the cooked weight will change depending on how long you cook it but the calories will stay pretty much the same. The most important thing though is to pick the database entry that matches. So if you're going by raw weight, make sure you use the entry for raw (or use what's on the package). If you're going by cooked weight, make sure you pick an entry for cooked. Also just be consistent. Use the same entries every time.

This is one of those things that I chalk up to margin of error. You're not going to be able to be 100% accurate. Do the best you can, be consistent, and adjust as needed based on your results.
  4822651
February 28, 2014 9:51 AM
QUOTE:

i wonder about the same thing with pasta. Do you weigh uncooked or cooked? Let's face it 2oz is not a lot either way. LOL


2 oz is uncooked weight.

eta: with any packaged food, the weight will be for the item as packaged.
Edited by ILiftHeavyAcrylics On February 28, 2014 9:52 AM
  4822651
February 28, 2014 9:55 AM
A dietician told me that meat should be weighed raw.
  49894479

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