T Nation

Measuring Food Raw vs Cooked

Hello all,

When I weigh my food, do the nutritional facts pertain to the food cooked, or raw?

I measured out 4 oz of ground beef hamburger patties, for example, but when they cook it becomes around 2-3 oz. Should I be calculating the cooked version, or when they are raw? It doesn’t specify on the label. Thanks!

The labels on meat and poultry are for raw food weight. From the USDA:

"On packaged raw meat and poultry products, the nutrition facts are listed based on the product?s raw weight. The serving size for nearly all raw meat and poultry products is four ounces. However, if the raw product was formed into patties, then the serving size would be the raw weight of each patty ? for example, three ounces.

Here?s a rule of thumb to translate from raw to cooked portions of meats and poultry. Dubost suggests that for meats, it?s reasonable to estimate you?ll lose about a quarter of the weight in cooking. So four ounces of raw meat with no bones will serve up roughly three ounces cooked. Dubost?s estimate is corroborated by an evaluation of cooking yields for meats and poultry by the USDA?s Nutrient Data Laboratory in late 2012."

Hope that helps!

Okay, so if I weigh 4 ounces of ground beef (22 grams of protein), do I go with that number instead of the 3 ounces it becomes (~15g protein)?

[quote]MikeMezz wrote:
Okay, so if I weigh 4 ounces of ground beef (22 grams of protein), do I go with that number instead of the 3 ounces it becomes (~15g protein)?


Yes, so long as the nutrition fact you looked up is for RAW. It will almost always say “cooked” if it is for weight after cooking.

Some people don’t get this and that’s why you’ll see someone online claiming they’re getting 30g of protein from their 100g of chicken breast. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your 4oz/100g serving is over 25g of protein, something is definitely wrong.

With fatty ground beef the fat calories could become a little bit more complicated if you throw away fat lost in the cooking process, but I don’t eat beef that much and haven’t cared enough to really look into this. Probably not something you really need to worry about unless you eat beef at every meal or are contest dieting.

I would suggest setting up your food log with cooked meat only and don’t bother weighing it raw at all. Cooked will be about 70 - 75% the weight of raw. You obviously don’t lose protein in cooking, just water and likely a bit of fat.

Trying to measure things raw, then cooked, and then figure out the marcos is complicating things too much. The USDA food database has tons of entries so whatever you’re eating is likely in there (including ground beef, fat drained).

Thanks everyone. I don’t intend to get very neurotic about this, so I’m going to keep it simple from here on out. Unless it states “cooked” on the nutrition label, I’ll just go with the raw amount (for beef, at least). I like to make a burger, and it’s always done before eaten, whereas I cook my chicken in bulk for the week. In any case, I’ve attained piece of mind with this issue, so thank you again.

Meats should be weighed after cooking. However, as long as you’re consistent, it won’t matter

I have read ground pork packages though that won’t even list calories, and some say “after cooking”.

so when a 1 pound package says it has 4 4 oz servings with 230 cal each, and it has a net weight of 1 pound as well? Meat packages are raw weight unless stated otherwise.