Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

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madbrain
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Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

I started a diet about 10 days ago and I'm tracking all my food intake on a site called myfitnesspal.
I am measuring everything I eat in order to count calories.

I have noticed that the net weight of some items, notably produce, is overstated.
On several packages of Driscoll raspberries from Costco, the net weight was only 11 oz instead of the 12 oz listed on the package.
Has anyone else noticed anything like this ?

And what do I do about it? It seems like there is some ripping off going on.
Quickfoot
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by Quickfoot »

Water content can change in the food and affect weight. Sometimes the weight includes packaging (usually delimited on the label). The government has a very vigorous set of labeling requirements for food, you are more than likely not being ripped off.
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rob
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by rob »

But I bet the price didn't go up :D I have never checked the stuff (I guess I assume someone somewhere checks that stuff) but I would not be shocked as the last years I noticed a lot that contents have dropped.
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madbrain
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

Quickfoot wrote:Water content can change in the food and affect weight. Sometimes the weight includes packaging (usually delimited on the label). The government has a very vigorous set of labeling requirements for food, you are more than likely not being ripped off.
I thought the definition of net weight specifically excluded packaging.

In this case, the raspberries, they hadn't been in my fridge for very long.
The first package I consumed was not even ripe so I waited to eat the second.

At least in appearance, the didn't appear to have changed volume since I purchased them.

This isn't just an issue of ripoff - how am I supposed to determine the caloric content if this is due to water loss ?
I suppose with raspberries the difference won't be much. But with other stuff it could be worse, the errors could compound
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madbrain
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

rob wrote:But I bet the price didn't go up :D I have never checked the stuff (I guess I assume someone somewhere checks that stuff) but I would not be shocked as the last years I noticed a lot that contents have dropped.
I don't know, the price of berries varies greatly between seasons. I am not sure how much price has gone up for these. But I think it's higher than before.

I have noticed the content dropping on other items, but at least on processed foods (like Haagen dasz ice cream dropping from 16 oz to 14 oz) it's clearly marked.
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dm200
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by dm200 »

madbrain wrote:
Quickfoot wrote:Water content can change in the food and affect weight. Sometimes the weight includes packaging (usually delimited on the label). The government has a very vigorous set of labeling requirements for food, you are more than likely not being ripped off.
I thought the definition of net weight specifically excluded packaging.

In this case, the raspberries, they hadn't been in my fridge for very long.
The first package I consumed was not even ripe so I waited to eat the second.

At least in appearance, the didn't appear to have changed volume since I purchased them.

This isn't just an issue of ripoff - how am I supposed to determine the caloric content if this is due to water loss ?
I suppose with raspberries the difference won't be much. But with other stuff it could be worse, the errors could compound
I am neither a health or nutrition professional - but three years ago, I lost 55 pounds in 11 months - and have maintained that approximate weight since then. During that entire time, including the period of maintaining the weight loss - I never actually "counted" calories, letalone ever weighed anything (for diet purposes). I was not in any kind of "program" - mainly stopped eating crap.
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madbrain
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

dm200 wrote: I am neither a health or nutrition professional - but three years ago, I lost 55 pounds in 11 months - and have maintained that approximate weight since then. During that entire time, including the period of maintaining the weight loss - I never actually "counted" calories, letalone ever weighed anything (for diet purposes). I was not in any kind of "program" - mainly stopped eating crap.
Well, there are diverse opinions on what constitutes "crap" food. I do have a sweet tooth.
But for me, it certainly seems that excessive quantity of food intake has been the biggest problem, more so than poor quality of the things I have been consuming

Myfitnesspal attempts to steer everyone who wants to lose weight towards 1200 net calories a day. I was probably eating closer to 2500 and not exercising, ie. getting 2500 net, as I am very sedentary.

I started tracking food & exercise intake on 5/7 . I have a treadmill at home and started using it regularly, at moderate speeds.
I have kept within the net 1200 so far every day except one, and have lost 8 lbs. Still haven't gone to the gym.

My last grocery trip (big one at Costco) was just before I started dieting, so I couldn't have possibly changed the type of foods I had been eating before. I have just been eating the same things that I had in the house, only in lower quantities. I do look at the report on myfitnesspal which breaks down the food between complex carbs, protein, fat, and simple sugars. That loosely helps guide me on how much to eat of each type of food .
ajcp
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by ajcp »

madbrain wrote:
dm200 wrote: I am neither a health or nutrition professional - but three years ago, I lost 55 pounds in 11 months - and have maintained that approximate weight since then. During that entire time, including the period of maintaining the weight loss - I never actually "counted" calories, letalone ever weighed anything (for diet purposes). I was not in any kind of "program" - mainly stopped eating crap.
Well, there are diverse opinions on what constitutes "crap" food. I do have a sweet tooth.
But for me, it certainly seems that excessive quantity of food intake has been the biggest problem, more so than poor quality of the things I have been consuming

Myfitnesspal attempts to steer everyone who wants to lose weight towards 1200 net calories a day. I was probably eating closer to 2500 and not exercising, ie. getting 2500 net, as I am very sedentary.

I started tracking food & exercise intake on 5/7 . I have a treadmill at home and started using it regularly, at moderate speeds.
I have kept within the net 1200 so far every day except one, and have lost 8 lbs. Still haven't gone to the gym.

My last grocery trip (big one at Costco) was just before I started dieting, so I couldn't have possibly changed the type of foods I had been eating before. I have just been eating the same things that I had in the house, only in lower quantities. I do look at the report on myfitnesspal which breaks down the food between complex carbs, protein, fat, and simple sugars. That loosely helps guide me on how much to eat of each type of food .
I'm not a fitness expert either but you could make this much simpler than weighing a package of raspberries. I lost ~40 pounds last year and didn't change a single thing about my diet - my sister actually got jokingly mad at me since I lost so much weight while continuing to eat crap. I just added exercise - an hour on the treadmill every day.

Also your math is way way off. Your body burns calories when you're resting too, more than your think. If your weight was constant, you were more or less net 0. Now, you're net negative so you're losing weight. A pound is 3500 calories, so -500 loses a pound/week, -350 loses a pound/10 days, etc. You can lose a lot at the beginning as your body adjusts, you lose water weight, etc. but don't get discouraged - over 4 pounds a week obviously isn't sustainable :wink: . But you're on a great start and I'm sure you'll continue to see progress.
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madbrain
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

ajcp wrote: I'm not a fitness expert either but you could make this much simpler than weighing a package of raspberries. I lost ~40 pounds last year and didn't change a single thing about my diet - my sister actually got jokingly mad at me since I lost so much weight while continuing to eat crap. I just added exercise - an hour on the treadmill every day.
An hour on the treadmill every day is a lot. I am mainly using mine between 2.5 - 4.0 mph, which is more brisk walking speed.
Anything more and my heartbeat shoots uncomfortably high and I get exhausted.
I do use the incline to burn more calories, though.
Also your math is way way off. Your body burns calories when you're resting too, more than your think.
I'm quite aware of that, thank you. I am not sure how you are in any way contradicting what I wrote .
The site (myfitnesspal) says I need about 2000 calories to maintain my weight, and suggests eating net 1200 calories/day, which for me is an 800 calorie daily loss.
If your weight was constant, you were more or less net 0.
It wasn't constant, it was on a depressing upward trajectory.
Now, you're net negative so you're losing weight. A pound is 3500 calories, so -500 loses a pound/week, -350 loses a pound/10 days, etc. You can lose a lot at the beginning as your body adjusts, you lose water weight, etc. but don't get discouraged - over 4 pounds a week obviously isn't sustainable :wink: . But you're on a great start and I'm sure you'll continue to see progress.
Yes, I'm sure there is a lot of water weight loss involved. But hopefully there is some fat loss too.
I'm not very overweight, I started at 162 which for 5'6 was a 26.1 BMI, ie. the low end of unhealthy weight. I am already back in the "green zone" as far as BMI is concerned - it's now down to 24.9 . But I'm still very upset at wearing 36" jeans. I should be between 30-32. An inordinate part of the weight is concentrated around my belly and I know that's unhealthy; the BMI just doesn't take the whole story.
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by SimonJester »

I would bet that the weight difference is water loss. Does the product have one of those absorbent pads in the bottom? If so weigh the berries with that pad and see how close the weight is. Next how accurate is your scale, has it been calibrated? Next check the weightin grams, that will be slightly more accurate then ozs.
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curmudgeon
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by curmudgeon »

If you are keeping rasperries in a "frost-free" fridge for any length of time, you are dehydrating them due to the low humidity maintained by the fridge. For that matter, most fruits and vegetables are susceptible to this, but rasberries might be one of the more extreme examples due to the delicate skin and high surface area.

While I expect some amount of normal variation in packaging (I'm not willing to pay the price that would be required for someone to weigh out each package individually), it's not beyond possibility that a vendor is tending to short-weight. The "thumb on the scales" has been around as long as there has been commerce. I'd lean towards dehydration the more likely cause, though.
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madbrain
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

SimonJester wrote:I would bet that the weight difference is water loss. Does the product have one of those absorbent pads in the bottom? If so weigh the berries with that pad and see how close the weight is.
Yes, there was such a pad. I will try that next time.
I hadn't consumed all the berries at once, which was the reason for weighing.
The servings I had over 2 days didn't add up to 12 oz, but 11 oz..
Next how accurate is your scale, has it been calibrated? Next check the weightin grams, that will be slightly more accurate then ozs.
There is no calibration option. It's a digital scale, Salter Nutri Weight 1450.
There is an option for metric.
But even with imperial units it gives fractional oz.
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by sport »

madbrain wrote:This isn't just an issue of ripoff - how am I supposed to determine the caloric content if this is due to water loss ?
If the weight loss is water loss, there is no change in caloric content because water has no calories. If the package had 12 oz to start with, the calories are those for 12 oz, even if there is a one oz loss of water.
Jeff
ajcp
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by ajcp »

madbrain wrote:
ajcp wrote: I'm not a fitness expert either but you could make this much simpler than weighing a package of raspberries. I lost ~40 pounds last year and didn't change a single thing about my diet - my sister actually got jokingly mad at me since I lost so much weight while continuing to eat crap. I just added exercise - an hour on the treadmill every day.
An hour on the treadmill every day is a lot. I am mainly using mine between 2.5 - 4.0 mph, which is more brisk walking speed.
Anything more and my heartbeat shoots uncomfortably high and I get exhausted.
I do use the incline to burn more calories, though.
I don't mean to suggest that you shouldn't diet, obviously doing both is even better (I just love some foods too much to give them up). I just think you'll still see good results if you simply try to eat healthy, and actually measuring items won't make a huge difference.
madbrain wrote:
ajcp wrote: Also your math is way way off. Your body burns calories when you're resting too, more than your think.
I'm quite aware of that, thank you. I am not sure how you are in any way contradicting what I wrote .
The site (myfitnesspal) says I need about 2000 calories to maintain my weight, and suggests eating net 1200 calories/day, which for me is an 800 calorie daily loss.
Ok that makes sense. I was confused by you being net 2500 calories per day. That would mean a weight gain of 5 pounds per week!
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madbrain
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by madbrain »

ajcp wrote: I don't mean to suggest that you shouldn't diet, obviously doing both is even better (I just love some foods too much to give them up). I just think you'll still see good results if you simply try to eat healthy, and actually measuring items won't make a huge difference.
Well, I love some foods too much as well. The point of measuring is to know how much I am consuming. Even if it's only an approximation.
Ok that makes sense. I was confused by you being net 2500 calories per day. That would mean a weight gain of 5 pounds per week!
No, I meant I was probably consuming about 2500 calories a day. Though I never tracked it exactly before starting the diet.
If it really only takes 2000 to maintain weight, then that would be 500 extraneous calories a day or about 1 lb gain a week.
I wasn't gaining quite that fast, so my body probably needs more than 2000 to maintain weight :) I guess I will find out soon enough how much.
mhalley
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by mhalley »

I like scoobys calculator to help figure out how many calories to eat to lose/maintain/gain.
http://scoobysworkshop.com/accurate-calorie-calculator/
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by Rodc »

jsl11 wrote:
madbrain wrote:This isn't just an issue of ripoff - how am I supposed to determine the caloric content if this is due to water loss ?
If the weight loss is water loss, there is no change in caloric content because water has no calories. If the package had 12 oz to start with, the calories are those for 12 oz, even if there is a one oz loss of water.
Jeff
I'm guessing the natural variation in calories oz to oz is fairly high, just variations in sugar content and such. All you can do is get a ball park estimate. Same for most foods. But that is fine. You're not doing cutting edge science here.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
scotthal
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Re: Net weight inaccurate on food items ?

Post by scotthal »

Useta buy deli sandwiches at Krogers; got a bit torqued when I found that they were consistently underweight by ~20%... Discovery didn't ding taste or purported nutritional value thereof, but I really hate being ripped off.

Diets... may not be relevant to your situation, but after adding a single egg a day to my 'normal' diet, I started losing weight. Picked up muscle mass (& bulk); have lost waistline & 40+ lbs of flab over the past couple of years w/o changing my maintenance workout regime. Dunno whether it was the additional choline, B12, or merely the fickle finger of fate (sorry, I was a Laugh-In fan); but the takeaway is that exercise & caloric inputs aren't the sole variables. Good luck!
Growtch, grinch; paranoid contrarian
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