Oil measuring, calories and precision


Just a thread to make note of something that might be important for those using home made soylent for weight loss. It is also very obvious, but has potentially caught me out at least :wink:

You have to be extremely careful measuring out ‘tablespoons’ of oil. Having had a couple of weeks with less than satisfactory weight loss, I decided to re-check my measurements.

A UK tablespoon is (supposedly) 17ml (US is 15). To measure how much mine actually were I originally measured out 20 tablespoons of water into a measuring jug and eyeballed the results to estimate an ‘average real world tbsp’. Consequently I came to the conclusion the ‘tablespoon’ I was actually using was ‘around’ 11ml.

Tonight I did some testing on variability of measurement, and realised the actual (completely full without spilling a tiny drop’ measure was indeed 15ml. I have been fairly lax being precise (in fact it is quite hard to be precise using the measuring spoon I was using) but running these numbers (11ml and 15ml) through my database, on my high carb recipe this is a variability of minimum 1837 kcals per day, maximum 2232 kcals. It could conceivably be even greater than this as I was on occasion pouring very quickly and sometimes going over the edges (lazy).

Given the subconscious nature when dieting to accidentally put a little extra in, you could easily be consuming hundreds of extra calories per week. A few of drips of oil each time will add up, and you won’t notice.

Lesson learned, I am going to be using a deeper, narrower measuring spoon, call it 15ml and try to be ultra precise.

Yeh I feel kinda stupid for posting this, but worth double checking your measures esp if low carb :wink:


Excellent heads up, my friend; thank you. :slight_smile: FOR SCIENCE, FOR SOYLENT! (New war cry, coined right now, called it. Muahaha)


Good point, SF! I haven’t been industrious enough to check my own measures that way. What I have noticed, though, is that the viscosity/density/surface tension of liquid oils at cool room temperatures tends to be such that the spoon can be filled to the point that the oil surface is easily 2 mm. above the edge of the spoon without spilling. It gives a person pause for thought – how many extra calories that might represent. It could also be relevant to the balance relationship between oil components: coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you can easily level off a tablespoon with a straightedge, indeed you virtually must do that to measure the stuff at all. Olive oil, OTOH, pours right out, and stands high above the edge of the spoon. Potential result – a lot less coconut oil than olive oil in a tablespoon measure. Hmmm.


What I did was buy a large oral syringe from a pet supply store. The one I picked up cost me about $5 and measures up to 35 mL. No more dealing with clunky imperial units when measuring out my liquids.



I think the deeper measuring spoons such as these:

are probably the best way to deal with this issue. The problem I was having was using an actual spoon like measure:

lots of room for error with this kind of measure.


Do it by weight. Measure your spoon to get the tare, then measure the spoon full of oil. Then you can add oil by weight when you’re putting together the liquid bits.


you should almost always do it by weight. Volumes are way too unreliable.


this link might be helpful


Fascinating hearing all the replies to the oil measurement problem. I’ve already reduced the calories of my soylent to give me quite a bit of overhead for snacking, so even the extra bit of oil won’t be that problematic. I’ll look into the syringe though. Seems like a convenient way to solve the problem.
I have more oil than the average, so technically the syringe isn’t big enough for me, but you can always double dip… :smile:


That syringe thing is GENUIS. I weigh my stuff, but I’ve been having trouble getting every drop of oil out of the dish I use to weigh it, and with only 10g oil in my recipe I haven’t liked the thought of leaving two or three grams behind. This sounds like the perfect solution.


Oh i really like the syringe idea, and you can still weigh it if you want!

Metric weight measures are going to be more accurate and precise. I have always used a scale when measuring my soylent. I like to be really accurate and got on that measures down to 0.01 of a gram.


Interesting. I like the sensitivity/precision of the scale, but the upper limit on weight makes it a no-go for me. I like to mix a weeks worth of soylent at once, which typically weighs over a kilo. Can’t use a scale with an upper bound of .5 kg.


Oh i see. I like many others measure and prepare soylent in single day sets making 3 days to a week at a time. Usually in a gallon bag per day.