Here, I did a little experiment to show if meat should be weighed raw or cooked. My theory was that with lean meat there probably isn’t a huge difference in weight. Boy, was I surprised!
Tracking macros has become a very popular way of eating. It’s where one tracks their calories, fat, protein and carbohydrate intake by weighing/measuring everything they eat. Macro intake depends on your personal goals, activity, lifestyle and current weight. This means everyone has a different macro intake recipe. (I calculated mine here at iifym.com)
I should back up a little here because I know most of you are here at Whole Fork looking for Paleo and Whole30 recipes. Both diets that say DON’T weigh your food! You’re probably scratching your head wondering then why on earth I’m talking about tracking your macros?
In short, I started doing crossfit at the end of 2016. Very quickly my energy plummeted. I wanted to be eating the right foods, in the right quantity at the right time to fuel my activity. I was also feeling very light headed during my workouts.
I hit the interwebs are started doing research. I’ve talked before about eating enough carbohydrates to fit your context. And what do you know? I needed more carbohydrates. I also needed more calories in general.
So, I started tracking my macros to see what I was actually eating, and what I should change. It has made a world of difference. I have learned a lot. Turns out I was eating about 1/4th of the carbs and 200 calories UNDER what I needed. No wonder I felt tired!
Of course starting a new thing I have questions about how to do everything right. On Instagram last week I asked the question “should you weigh your meat raw, or cooked?”. Your response was just about 50/50! I decided to run a little experiment and weigh out some raw chicken, then cook it and weigh it again. My theory was there wouldn’t really be a big difference in weight, especially with a lean protein. I should note the raw chicken was thawed and patted dry with paper towels so there wasn’t added water.
Raw = 1lb 12.6oz
Cooked = 1lb 6.6oz
We lost 6oz of chicken = 20% overall! I was shocked about losing 20% in weight! Realize most of the loss is moisture, and maybe a hint of fat.
So does 20% matter?
Let’s do some math!
If we have 4oz of raw chicken it should have roughly 100 calories and 23g protein.
If we have 4oz of cooked chicken, we need to add 20% weight to get the raw chicken equivalent (RCE) since we lost 20% when we cooked it. Then we can compare that amount to the 4oz above. 4oz X 1.2 = 4.8oz
4.8oz of RCE (really 4 oz cooked) has roughly 120 calories and 27.6g protein.
What does this mean?
If we weighed 4oz of chicken raw it would have 100 calories and 23g protein.
If we weighed 4oz of chicken cooked it would have 120 calories and 27.6g protein.
In my mind…the difference is NOT ENOUGH TO MATTER.
20 calories is not going to make or break anything. It’s insignificant to me. My solution? Do whatever is easiest for the recipe. If I’m going to make a stir fry (like my Thai Basil Chicken) where I start with raw ingredients I’m going to weigh the protein raw, just out of convenience. If I’m grilling several pieces of chicken, or cooking a large amount of meat like my Paleo Pulled Pork, I’m going to weigh the cooked meat just before I put it on my plate.
Tracking macros can be a tedious process, and isn’t for everyone. So let’s make it as simple and easy as possible!
Thoughts? Reactions? Do you track macros? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you guys! Also, pin this article and share the knowledge, thanks!