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Why Using a Food Scale Can Help You With Weight Loss

Written By: Christine Loconti

Christine Loconti is a freelance content writer with several years of experience writing about topics like food, wine, travel, health, and more. In addition to writing, Christine is a licensed English teacher who teaches ESL. She has a BA in English education from Illinois State University.

Expert Reviewed By: Denise Hernandez, RD

Denise Hernandez is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Houston Downtown and completed her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her areas of focus include adult and childhood weight management, women’s nutrition, and chronic disease management.

Why a Food Scale is Your Weight-Loss Secret Weapon
In This Article

One of the most difficult things to master at the beginning of a weight loss journey is portion size. Relying on your eyes to tell you the correct food intake amount at mealtime can be tricky. In fact, research shows that people tend to eat more than they need to when they’re offered a larger portion. Instead of trying to eyeball it, make things easy by trying out a food scale for weight loss.

Digital food scales take the guesswork out of portion sizes, making sure that you get precise measurements every time.

Once you get the hang of what the right portion size for your needs looks like, you can ease up on weighing your meals.

Do Food Scales Help You Lose Weight?

Eating the right portions is key when it comes to weight loss. Many products have serving sizes printed on the labels, but if the portion is by weight rather than cups or spoon measurements, you’re going to want a food scale.

A food scale measures a food’s weight, while cups and spoons measure how much space it takes up. But it’s the measurement of weight that helps with portion control and makes it easier to stay within your calorie goals.

Think of a food scale as another secret tool in your nutrition arsenal. Tracking your food can help you see what you’re eating and when. Using a food scale is another secret weapon to add that’s super easy to use. That’s a real win-win.

7 Features To Look For in the Best Food Scale for Weight Loss

Take a peek at a food scale on Amazon or a home goods store and you’ll see that there are tons of options out there. Digital or analog? Large or small? Standard or portable food scales?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many choices, so we’ve made it easy by narrowing down some of the essential features that a good food scale should have.

1. Compact design

The type of food scale that you choose should be convenient for you. If you’re limited on kitchen space, look for a scale with a compact design. This will save you counter space if you decide to leave it out or make it easy to store if you need to. If you keep it on your countertop, a clean design can add a touch of chic to your kitchen, which is an added bonus.

2. Digital screen

One advantage of choosing scales with digital screens is that they often have advanced features when it comes to measuring food weight. Modern digital food scales allow you to switch between measurement units so that you can get an accurate portion size in either grams or ounces. Some might even be able to measure out pounds and kilograms, depending on the scale’s capacity. All you have to do is tap the unit conversion button on your scale for grams or ounces, depending on how you prefer to measure your food.

3. Tare weight function

When looking at scales, make sure that it has a tare function. This helps you more closely measure food items like rice, pasta, or beans. All you have to do is place them in a bowl or container on top of the (usually flat) scale and then click the tare button. This will zero out the weight of the container so that the scale won’t measure it.

4. Auto shut-off feature

The auto shut-off feature is a nice addition so you don’t have to worry about powering down your scale when you’re done with it. Digital food scales have an internal timer that turns off the scale after a few minutes of inactivity. This helps save battery life on rechargeable food scales.

5. Large, stainless steel platform

Opt for a model that has a large, stainless steel platform. A larger surface means that you can measure a number of different foods, both raw and cooked. Stainless steel is a bonus because it’s easy to wipe down and keep clean when you’re done using the scale.

6. Appropriate weight capacity

The capacity is how much weight it can hold. If you know you’re doing food prep and weighing larger amounts of food at once, look for a model that has a higher capacity.

7. Connects with tracking apps

Did you know that some food scales can connect to fitness and nutrition apps like MyFitnessPal? Smart scales sync with your nutrition app to automatically track the ingredients that you’re weighing out and account for things like seasonings and spices. This makes tracking your food even easier.

FAQs

Now that you know the basics of a measuring scale, let’s dig into some common questions people have when they first start using them.

Do I need a food scale to count calories?

Knowing the right serving size and weighing your food can make a huge difference when it comes to your nutrition and/or weight loss goals. It makes it a lot easier to count calories and takes the guesswork out of eyeballing the right serving amount.

You can still keep counting your calories if you want to, of course, and make it even easier by tracking with MyFitnessPal. Having a target number of calories per day can help you stay on track, especially when you pair it with measuring out portion sizes on a kitchen scale.

Is it better to weigh food cooked or raw?

The easiest and most accurate way to measure food is when it’s raw. It’s true that your food might change in weight during cooking, either becoming heavier (like pasta or rice) or lighter (like the fat cooking off meat). Starting with food in its raw form gives you an accurate count from the start, especially when using scales measuring grams. Ounce scales are also quite precise if you don’t want to measure in metric.

Measuring while raw makes it easy to log your food, too. Many foods, like pasta or cereal, have a serving size that’s measured when the product is dry. It might get confusing to try and track or weigh these foods later once they’ve been cooked or other things have been added.

Achieve Your Weight Goals With Precise Calorie Intake Tracking

Weight loss is different for everyone, but buying and using a food scale takes some of the guesswork out of your serving sizes. Getting a precise measurement of your food lets you know exactly how much you’re eating at each meal and can help you from eating more than you need to if you want to lose weight.

Along with a food scale, logging your food with MyFitnessPal is another simple step that you can take on your weight loss journey. The app lets you see your habits, log thousands of foods with just a few taps, and keep track of things like macros, hydration, and steps. MyFitnessPal makes it easy so that you can focus on being the best you on your way to wellness.

Note: Weighing and measuring out your foods can be helpful at the beginning of your weight loss journey. Once you start to see what your patterns are and get familiar with portion sizes of your most frequently eaten foods, it is common to ease up on this practice.

Originally published January 14, 2021; updated April 26, 2024

About the Authors

Meet the people behind the post

Written By: Christine Loconti

Christine Loconti is a freelance content writer with several years of experience writing about topics like food, wine, travel, health, and more. In addition to writing, Christine is a licensed English teacher who teaches ESL. She has a BA in English education from Illinois State University.

Expert Reviewed By: Denise Hernandez, RD

Denise Hernandez is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Houston Downtown and completed her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her areas of focus include adult and childhood weight management, women’s nutrition, and chronic disease management.

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