Am I supposed to weigh food before or after cooking?

:/ sometimes it’s quite different


  • Countandsubtract
    Countandsubtract Posts: 276 Member
    Hmmm...although I haven't looked into how cooking effects how many calories are burned into digestion or the increase in energy/molecules absorbed due to the effects on digestion.

    But that might be too much too.

    I'm going to let someone else weigh in now.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,012 Member
    :/ sometimes it’s quite different

    Unless otherwise stated on a label, the calories on a label are for raw or dry. Weighing raw will be the most precise, but if you weigh cooked, select an entry that is for "cooked". For things like meat, there is water loss when cooking which means the final product will weigh less...but the calories are the don't cook off calories. If it's a grain or something, the final product will weigh more because it absorbs water...but again, you aren't adding any extra calories.
  • Jean
    Jean Posts: 78 MFP Staff
    This is a very good question, but unfortunately one that we do not have an exact answer for, as it would depend on how the item was originally entered into the database. However, in general, foods do not lose mass during cooking except by losing moisture or possibly from fat run-off. Some frozen foods may lose a bit of water weight when cooked, if they have accumulated frost in the freezer. Generally speaking, in the long run, the change in weight is statistically insignificant and should not affect your goals.

    As a rule of thumb, it should be safe to assume, if a food item does not mention a method of cooking (Chicken Breast - Grilled, for example) it's most likely the item is meant to be in the uncooked or raw state. Please note, some items in our database are entered by other users, and they may not have clarified cooked vs. raw in these entries.

    There is always a margin of error in everything involved in calorie counting: no one person's metabolism is exactly like another, so even our calculations of your calories needed for the day are not 100 percent precise to the exact calorie. We expect you will experience positive weight management results, even if the numbers are off, to a small degree due to loss of moisture between raw and cooked states, or even the inability to exactly pinpoint your metabolic needs, using generalized equations.

    Hopefully this helps a bit more, but if you do have any other questions on this, we recommend reaching out to our Support Team by visiting: or sending us an email to [email protected]