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The Simple Guide to Measuring Your Food in Grams

Avatar Nutrition Staff

September 19, 2017


When people hear the term “gram” applied to food for the first time, they usually panic.

For many, looking at food in terms of grams may seem like an alien concept at first, or conjure up unpleasant memories of high school science class. But when you pause for a minute, you will realize that you’ve been seeing grams on labels your entire life.

Grams are everywhere around you. Not only do you see them prominently displayed on food labels next to protein, carbs, and fat—but sometimes you also see them in reference to the total weight of each serving.

It’s important to remember that grams in terms of weight and grams in terms of your macro targets are two very different things.


Let’s break this down

Gram weight for a serving of food refers to the weight of EVERYTHING in that serving. For a 142 gram serving of strip sirloin steak (5 ounces), you’re looking at 32 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs—that comes out to 39 grams of total macro “weight” in that steak. So what about the other 103 grams in that serving? That’s largely moisture content, which generally makes up the majority of the gram weight in a serving of any food.

When it comes to counting your macros, the only grams you need to concern yourself with are the grams of protein, fat, and carbs that are clearly listed on every food label. These grams are what you will be accounting for to meet your macro targets. Looking at your food in terms of the grams of each macronutrient that it’s composed of is a lot like riding a bike—it takes some practice and getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s something that you will always be able to do.

Tip: Here are 10 proven ways to master tracking macros

As you start to track your macros, you will quickly discover that you eat a lot of the same foods over and over again. Let’s think about eggs for a minute…one large egg has 6 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs. Obviously you can multiply these numbers by however many eggs you just ate to give you the total macros, but for now, just think of that egg as 6 grams protein and 4.5 grams fat. After a few breakfasts where you’ve tracked your macros, you will more than likely have memorized that information.

Now a time will eventually come where it’s getting close to the end of your day and you see that you still have a small amount of protein and fat needed to fill out your daily targets. you will automatically know that eggs, nearly equal parts protein and fat, could be used to accurately reach your goal numbers! Over time, you will start to create a mental database of what foods are dominant in protein, carbs, and fat. From there, flexible dieting is really as simple as measuring out your serving sizes to reach your macro targets.

If you have a food label or an internet connection, hitting your macro targets is easy to do. When you realize how much success you’re having using the accuracy of grams, you will see that grams aren’t scary at all—they’re your friends!