Raw vs cooked calories…. 🍝
A question I’m often asked is whether you should track your calories as raw or cooked weights? To be honest it doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent and know which you’re tracking so you can record the correct calories, but it can be a little confusing!
Unless otherwise stated nutrition labels are usually raw weights. However, you’ll find sometimes some grains, pasta and pulses might be listed as cooked or ‘as prepared’ weights – which is when you need to be careful, as you will underestimate cals if you weigh them raw.
Different foods absorb different amounts of water as they’re cooked. This makes them swell and weigh more. So for things like rice, pasta, cereals etc it’s probably best to track them as raw weights. As you can see there are small differences between white and brown varieties but only after cooking really, which is down to the differing amounts of water they absorb. You’ll also find different shapes and types of pasta will vary too for the same reason. Oats are the same and in fact over 80 percent of the weight in cooked oats is actually water.
Protein sources, like chicken, tend to lose weight when cooked. This is because the water and liquids in the meat evaporate during cooking. They loose 20-25 percent of their weight during cooking. Again it’s best to track raw weights. It’s also worth noting that the cooking method has an impact on meat too. The calories for 100g cooked chicken are based on a grilled skinless chicken breast, the same amount of roast chicken (skinless) is 220 cals – due to the fats in the meat thanks to the roasting. So that’s also worth remembering if you’re a roast fan or are oven baking chicken with the skin on.
Whichever you chose to track is up to you but be sure to choose the right option in your tracking app.