Mass(g) = Volume(mL) x Density (g/mL)
If I need 200mL of yogurt, how many would be in grams?
Density: 1.03g/mL (search from Google for the ingredient you are looking for)
Mass(g) = Volume(mL) x Density (g/mL)
Mass(g) = 200mL x 1.03g/mL
Mass(g) = 206g
There are a number of units of measurements, you have milliliters, liters, grams, kilograms and more. And depending on which industry you’re dealing with, those units of measurements will change!
For example, in the kitchen, grams and milliliters can be interchanged with cups and teaspoons. In the pharmacy/hospital, grams could become international units (IU) or micrograms. At the end of the day, it all seems like one giant headache. But it doesn’t need to be anymore.
In this blog post, we will simplify the entire conversion process that will teach you a thing or two while making things much more convenient!
So, there are some basic concepts that we have to quickly highlight in order to understand the conversion. And to do that, we need to dig up some of the rudimentary concepts that we were taught in physics class.
Firstly, grams are a unit of mass. If memory serves us correctly, we will recall that mass is a body of matter that has an indefinite shape. Or if you want to get a little more advanced, its equation is: mass = volume by density. Therefore, if you take a handful of sand and squeeze it to form a small and dense ball, the mass will still remain the same.
Milliliters, on the other hand, are a unit of volume. Volume is a measurement unit that calculates the amount of space taken up by an object. Hence why it is frequently used with liquids. If you take the same sand ball that you squeezed earlier, the mass would not have changed but the volume will.
Great! So, we have a better understanding of our units. Nextly, we have to understand the substance that we are using. This means, what are we measuring? Are we measuring water or oil or honey or flour or sugar or wax?
The reason why is that all these different ingredients have different masses and volumes. If you take a 250mL bottle and fill it with water, oil and honey and measure each out: you will get a different mass (or grams) for each. That is why it is so important to check which ingredient you are using. Especially so when you are creating something that is very sensitive to volume/mass changes such as baking or chemical reactions.
Now that we have become somewhat of a food chemist/scientist (well, not really but one can dream), we can start to convert. As mentioned earlier, the conversion will depend on the ingredient you are using. But as a general conversion, these have been used for decades:
Knowing this, we can take the amount of the ingredient that we require and multiply it by the above conversions. For example, if we needed 20mL of milk: that would be 20.6g of milk. Simple enough right?
But what if you need to convert something that isn’t mentioned in the above list. Well, you can go online and use an aqua-calc food converter that does the entire job for you. If you need your honey or juice converted, you can find your answers there.
But for all the daredevils and self-sufficient people out there who want to convert mL to grams on their own, this one’s for you. In order to convert any substance, the only thing that you need to look up is the density of the mentioned ingredient. If you need to convert 200mL of yogurt, then google the density of yogurt. Now once you have that, pay attention to the unit that the density comes at. For example, some websites will use g/cm^3 or kg/m^3. If that is the case then convert it to the units that you require them as: g/mL. *Pst, the cheat sheet is right here*
Now the final step is to convert it all into grams. We have the volume. We have the density and now we need the mass. Luckily for us, the formula works out that volume multiplied by density will give us the mass.
It may not be as easy as ABC, but it’s not as hard as rocket science either. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself! Here is a test equation that we did to confirm the science:
If you google converting 200mL of yoghurt into grams, you will get approximately 206g.
I tell you, it is incredibly satisfying figuring this out on your own and not having to depend on a food calculator. But to each their own. See which works best for you and roll with it. But it never hurts to learn something new in the process!
Written by @DrFatinDaud
Dr Fatin Najwa binti Daud is a junior doctor, content creator and copywriter residing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She previously worked in marketing, specifically digital marketing, and business development. Dr Fatin is highly passionate about medicine and education. Her other interests include activism, humanitarian work, fashion and sports. You can find Dr Fatin Daud on LinkedIn.