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WAG Q&A with Adee Cazayoux: Episode 7, Measuring Raw VS Cooked and How Closely Should I Track?

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This week on WAG Q&As, we're going to be answering some common questions that were asked by members of our Facebook groups who want some help with their nutrition.

Q: Why is tracking raw weight better than cooked weight?

A raw piece of meat or vegetable is going to weigh almost exactly the same as a similar raw piece of meat or vegetables. When you cook them, those similarities change. The water that's in them starts evaporating and the food is going to get lighter. Whereas in the case of something like pasta or rice, those absorb more water and become heavier once they’re cooked. Cooking changes the weight of food, and therefore that can affect the nutrition information that you're inputting in whatever you're using to track your food.

SoTherefore, you want to make sure that when you're using some type of tracking app, you're identifying that you're using a “cooked entry” or a “raw entry.” If I'm entering my chicken breast and I'm entering the raw amount, I'm going to make sure that I'm searching “chicken breast raw.” It's going to be very different than “chicken breast cooked.” For example, six ounces of chicken breast cooked is significantly more calories and macros than six ounces of chicken breast raw, because six ounces of chicken breast raw is likely going to lose 25 percent of its weight after it's been cooked (depending on how long it's been cooked and what method you use to cook it).

Another option is to use the recipe function. On the WAG YouTube channel there's a MyFitnessPal tutorial. It teaches you how to track a recipe in bulk, which will help you see that when you enter a recipe, you can enter how much meat you have raw, then you know how much meat you have cooked, and then it will be able to do the calculations for you based on your own serving size. Of course, that's if you're going to be cooking meat in bulk. It sounds a little confusing without an example, but the tutorial on our YouTube channel very simply explains it all.

Q: How closely should I be hitting my macro targets?

This is a really common question that I get asked all the time and it's also a really tough one to answer. Truthfully, like a lot of the things in nutrition, it all depends on you and your situation. If I create a strict goal for a purpose, let’s say to make weight for an upcoming meet, to look my absolute cleanest for a photoshoot, or if I’m preparing for some type of competition — all time-sensitive situations where it matters what I'm doing with my nutrition — then I can't have as much flexibility. In those cases, being within five grams of your protein and your carbs, and within two grams of your fats is going to be optimal to help you understand what your body is responding to and what we need to make adjustments on.

However, if things are a little bit more flexible, like maybe you're going on a vacation with your family and you don't want to be 100 percent precise, expanding that ratio and just tracking to be accountable is okay too. Maybe you're going to be within 20 grams of your carbs and your protein, and 10 grams of fat, no problem. It's just important to understand that that may mean that progress is slower and you're not going to achieve your goal as quickly.

Q: What is the difference between grams of food and grams of macros?

One of the craziest situations we've had was a client saying that they were eating 200 grams of protein, but they were absolutely starving. We asked them for photos of their meals and were confused to see that they were only having a small piece of chicken breast. It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between 200 grams of chicken breast and 200 grams of protein. The difference is that the macros in your food do not directly correlate to the weight of the food itself. Just because my chicken breast weighs 200 grams, does not mean that there are 200 grams of protein in there. Those are huge differences and not a mistake you want to make.

Think of it this way: Water has weight, right? I could fill a cup with water and it's going to show up on the scales weighing something. But, there's absolutely no macros in water. Or I could have a protein bar that doesn't really weigh that much — maybe on average a protein bar is 60 grams in weight — but it's going to have many more macros in different variations. It could have 12 grams of fat, 25 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbs. Unfortunately, things aren’t exactly as clean cut as this is how much it weighs, this is how many macros it is. It's important to read your nutrition labels and see what is actually in your food.

I absolutely love that members of the team WAG Facebook groups are sending in some questions for me to answer on these Qq and Aa's, but even if you're not a member of WAG, I want to hear from you too! So post a question in the comments and I'll definitely answer them in one of the next Monday Q&As.

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Love what you learned but still want more guidance and support? Hire a 1:1 coach who will get to know you, your lifestyle and your unique needs and create results that you can sustain long-term. If you're not quite ready to go all-in on hiring a coach, check out our Macro Calculation Cheat Sheet & 18 Tracking Tips and Tricks for macro counting!

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Posted by Adee Cazayoux
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Adee is the founder and CEO of WAG. She has her bachelor’s degree in Honors Psychology, a Master’s in Teaching, and a Master’s in Nutrition & Human Performance. She’s also an athlete, having competed in the National Pro Grid League and winning the Bronze Medal in the 2016 Canadian National Weightlifting Championships.

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