T Nation

Veg Calories Increase with Cooking?


#1

so i've noticed when logging my food on fitday that the options for say 1 cup of broccoli cooked is 102 calories, while 1 cup raw is only 30 calories.

This increase seems to be prevalent amongst all the choices between cooked and raw veg.

is this just a mistake by fitday? why would or do calories increase with cooking?

any insight into this would be appreciated as understandably this could be throwing my macros waaayyyy off.

cheers


#2

I'm guessing because the water evaporates. So you would get more volume per cup in cooked broccoli compared to raw.

Ex:
For calories per cup

1 c of raw cranberries < 1 c of dried cranberries


#3

Well, the actual number of calories shouldn't change (at least I don't think it should), but... cooking vegetables (especially cruciferous ones) significantly increases their digestibility, making it alot easier for you to actually extract the carbohydrates from all that indigestible fiber. Cooking should also reduce the amount of energy you have to expend to actually digest the food.

That's my understanding, anyway. Maybe someone else can elaborate and/or correct me if I'm wrong.


#4

My GUESS would be that FitDay is incorrect, but that's a guess. If anything I think cooking reduces the calorie content.

Take for instance, the broccoli. You have a nice, fresh clump of broccoli that's lush and green. Instead of steaming it lightly so it's still green and crisp and eating it, you decide to throw it into a pot of boiling water and walk away to read a dozen posts here.

20 mins later, you decide that broccoli should be good and cooked. It's cooked all right - it's now GREY.

You in essence would have cooked (boiled) all the nutritional values out of the broccoli and in essence, you're eating some grey, jiggly mass of unknown origin with zero vitamins and minerals.

To me, I just can't fathom that something that is say 100 calories when it's fresh and crisp and full of vitamins would have more calories when cooked to a useless pulp.

So I'd say it's wrong.

:slightly_smiling:


#5

The another question arises...does fit day use net carbs/calories of fiber when listing nutritional information?


#6

I'd guess it's that you break down fibre to carbs. Fibre is generally just undigestable carbs, the boiling leads to hydrolysis and so bioavailability.


#7

I think people are way overcomplicating this. And by that I mean I'm pretty sure that DeadRamones is right. Boiling leads to hydrolysis to such a degree that the digestible carbs quadruples? Really? I might be wrong but that seems intuitively incorrect.


#8

They look the same to me. This is from the USDA database, per 100 grams. My guess is fitday assumes you get more cooked broccoli in a cup than raw, which I think is valid, it's a lot easier to to get a bunch of limp broccoli in a cup than raw.

Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Nutrient Units Value per 100 grams
Energy kcal 35
Energy kJ 146
Protein g 2.38
Total lipid (fat) g 0.41
Ash g 0.77
Carbohydrate, by difference g 7.18
Fiber, total dietary g 3.3
Sugars, total g 1.39
Sucrose g 0.08
Glucose (dextrose) g 0.49
Fructose g 0.74
Lactose g 0.00
Maltose g 0.00
Galactose g 0.00
Starch g 0.00

Broccoli, raw
Nutrient Units Value per 100 grams
Energy kcal 34
Energy kJ 141
Protein g 2.82
Total lipid (fat) g 0.37
Ash g 0.87
Carbohydrate, by difference g 6.64
Fiber, total dietary g 2.6
Sugars, total g 1.70
Sucrose g 0.10
Glucose (dextrose) g 0.49
Fructose g 0.68
Lactose g 0.21
Maltose g 0.21
Galactose g 0.00
Starch g 0.00

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/


#9

thanks for all the replies lads,

this one makes the most sense to me personally as broccoli along with most other veg reduces in size and weight when cooked so you could then get more into a cup.


#10

I really don't see how that's possible unless you're cooking in oil.

For those who said the water would evaporate, how do you cook your veggies? If you steam/boil, then the water content would increase quite significantly, decreasing the total number of calories at the same weight as raw. So if anything steamed/boiled veggies should be less calorically dense.


#11

cooked veggies are significantly less voluminous than their raw counterparts. when cooked the water in veggies evaporates out of them, and because most veggies are 90%+ water, this makes a big difference.

think about a cupful of grapes vs a cupful of raisins...which one would you expect to have more calories?

common sense people, use it.


#12

No, the difference on FitDay is large enough that it must assume that things are cooked with added fat. Many other items show this kind of difference. Neither the digestibility nor the volume of broccoli could possibly increase by a factor of 3 or 4 from cooking. So I always measure things raw and use the raw values on FitDay, even if I then cook the stuff before eating it.


#13

FitDay counts fiber as a carb with 4 calories per gram, like the USDA rules for nutrition labels. So when you eat a lot of fiber, it's overstating your actual energy intake.


#14

Too true.


#15

Wow.


#16

I would imagine so if you cooked them up in a stir fry laden with coconut oil and the like but raw or cooked veggies are free in my book


#17

If veggie calories matter that much, weigh your food.