3

votes

How do you estimate calories in fried foods?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 31, 2013 at 8:36 PM

I know this is probably a pretty basic question, but unsurprisingly I'm not finding a lot of hard evidence on this. I know it probably varies a lot so I'm not wondering about the actual scientific testable answer, but about how you estimate it for your own tracking purposes.

How do you estimate the amount or calories of fat for food that is fried? For example, one fried egg. Easy enough to put the egg in Cronometer, but how do you account for the oil (coconut, olive, beef tallow, etc) that it was fried in? Obviously the oil isn't all on the food or all still in the pan, and I'm doubting most people measure before and after. Whether you're trying to get a calorie minimum (me) or trying to stay under a limit (many people) it seems like this is one area that a lot of mis-estimation could occur.

What works for you?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 04:12 PM

If you are going to count calories (which I don't recommend) then count how much oil you put in the pan. Then look at how much is left in the pan when you take out the eggs.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 18, 2013
at 03:57 PM

Okay, I agree. But you didn't answer the question - how do you personally estimate it, if you count calories at all?

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3 Answers

3
3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on May 31, 2013
at 09:24 PM

If it's something like an egg, or a sautee, where a good majority of the fat does go with the food onto the plate then I just accept the left over pan residue/puddle as part of the error bar. This is PROBABLY partially counteracted by the fact I also don't round off my measuring spoons and usually end up heaving a tablespoon more on the side of "generous" onto the pan or wok. Basically, "close enough for jazz" because, really, it IS close enough. With something more complicated like french fries I am not sure I would even bother to try (good luck trying to figure how much fat is on the fry when you get to eating it). When you get to such complexities you may start needing to have a bomb calorimeter as part of your kitchen repertoire (READ: don't actually do this).

As for the specific Cronometer example, I put in the food (i.e. egg, whole, cooked, fried) and the fat (i.e. animal fat, bacon grease) separate. Even if this is technically inaccurate it still works if I am consistently inaccurate within my own model. The effect is that what I call 400kcals may actually be closer to 380kcals. But the kcals are an abstraction to begin with whereas "an egg fried in bacon fat" is not. This is fine and well as long as I keep my methodology consistent within my own caloric model. A problem would arise, however, if I adopted a model different from my own. This would happen if I went to an online calculator for my daily caloric needs instead of having figured out what I need by trial and error. If I used the online calculator's daily caloric model then I would have to adapt its methodology for calorie counting (because it is bad when your method and your model can't agree on what "an egg fried in bacon fat" equates to). Otherwise (to bring back my 400kcal/380kcal example) I may end up undereating as my definition of "an egg fried in bacon fat" in units of kcals is relatively larger that its.

So...uhhh...I guess all I did was make your question a bit more wordy.

Dammit.

1
Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

on August 18, 2013
at 10:14 AM

I don't really measure things like this, but agree it could be easy to mis-estimate in the case of fried foods. In theory though if a tablespoon of oil is included to fry an egg, then that will be about 100 - I'd just factor that in.

Also I don't know any data on this but eggplant/aubergine as well as dried shiitatke mushrooms can absorb a hell of a lot of fat when baked,they are like sponges. If you want easy calories- this could be an answer :).

0
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 02:14 PM

Trying to count your calories down to the exact amount is futile anyway. Just as you don't know how many calories of oil the egg (or other item) absorbed, you also don't know how many calories of the oil (or other macro) your body absorbed and what it did with it afterwards. It would be the same with exercise. Walking a mile will burn different amounts of calories at 45 deg, 65 deg, and 85 deg. Drinking water at room temperature uses a different amount of calories as drinking ice water, or hot water.

The point of all of this is that all animals have hormones to regulate hunger AND body weight. Unless your metabolism and hormone systems are broken, don't count calories. And if they are broken, just eat real whole foods, vegetables and meats until they are fixed. No matter how you calculate calories, it will be wrong.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 18, 2013
at 04:12 PM

If you are going to count calories (which I don't recommend) then count how much oil you put in the pan. Then look at how much is left in the pan when you take out the eggs.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 18, 2013
at 03:57 PM

Okay, I agree. But you didn't answer the question - how do you personally estimate it, if you count calories at all?

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