How a Food Scale Can Help You Lose Weight

Sep 30 2015
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

You've recommended using a food scale in the kitchen to help with weight loss or maintenance. How exactly will weighing my food help me lose weight? Can't I just use measuring cups and spoons to get accurate portions?

Wondering about Weighing
Answer@2x Dear Wondering,

This is a great question. While standard measuring cups and spoons are really helpful, there are many cases where they just won't do the trick. A food scale is pretty much essential if you're counting calories and/or watching your weight. Here's the full 411...

Nutritional info is almost always based on weight; the measurements are just estimates. Weighing your food lets you know exactly how much you're eating and how many calories you're taking in. Think about this: Let's say you're snacking on 1/4 cup of walnuts. The number of calories and amount of fat in that portion could vary greatly depending on whether the walnuts are whole, chopped, broken, or a little bit of all three. Weighing the nuts will tell you exactly how much you're eating, and allow you to calculate accurate nutritional info. It's smart to weigh all calorie-dense foods -- nuts, meat, pasta, grains, etc.

Serving sizes for staple foods can be misleading. For example, you may have read that a medium baked sweet potato has around 100 calories... but that's based on a 4-oz. potato. Now, I love sweet potatoes. But here at the HG HQ, we've found that a "medium" sweet potato is closer to 8 ounces, which clocks in at about 200 calories. Obviously, terms like small, medium, and large are subjective. That's why a food scale is so important. 

Another benefit: The scale will give you truly accurate serving sizes for packaged foods. When it comes to chips, snack mixes, and other packaged foods, the serving size is often presented in weight with an approximate measurement. For example, the label might say there are 150 calories in "1 oz. (about 10 chips)." But if you toss those chips on a scale and realize that 7 chips is what's actually equal to an ounce, a 10-chip serving would have closer to 215 calories! That's a big difference.

Last but not least, using a food scale will help you learn what common serving sizes look like, making it easier to eyeball portions when you're out and about. Now when you order a baked sweet potato at a restaurant (such a smart side dish), and the one you’re served is enormous, you'll know about how much you can have for that 100-calorie price tag. (Pssst… Pack up the rest, and have another serving tomorrow. Yay!)

Ready to get yourself a food scale? Look for a digital scale that gives results in both grams and ounces. These are fairly inexpensive and such a good thing to have on hand. Click here for the one we use in the HG test kitchen!

Chew on this:

Today, September 30th, is National Chewing Gum Day. If you're a gum chewer, stick to sugar-free stuff, like the gum by Project7 -- fun flavors, and the brand works with nonprofits to make the world a better place. Nice!

If you've got calorie-counting, weight-watching pals, today's email could be a huge help. Click "Send to a Friend" now!

Have a Question for Hungry Girl?

Send it in! She answers new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).


We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) when calculating the value of a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients using the Recipe Builder, not the calculator. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by WW International, Inc., the owner of the SmartPoints® trademark.