For those wanting to lose weight, it is important to control how much and what food you consume.
An important aspect of monitoring diet is tracking your nutrition and calorie intake on a regular basis.
In the past, counting calories was a very complicated affair. But thanks to technology, numerous smartphone apps and websites make it extremely easy to practice keeping a log of your meals and track the amount of food you eat.
This is a brief review the very best calorie counters out there today.
All the counters in this review can be accessed through a website. All of them also have apps that you can download and install on your iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. They all require registration, which can be completed in less than a minute.
MyfitnessPal is by far the most popular calorie counter today.
It is a food tracker, weight tracker, calorie counter, exercise logger and journal, calorie calculator, a food diary/journal and much more.
It can calculate a recommended daily calorie intake for you based on several factors including your weight.
Your personal dashboard displays a summary of your daily calorie consumption. At the same time, you are shown your remaining recommended calorie allowance so you know how much more food you can consume for the rest of the day. The dashboard also displays the number of calories you’ve burned while working out.
For those who use a fitness tracking device, such as Fitbit, MyFitnessPall can connect with your device and sync the data to your log.
You get a progress report from the app to let you know how close you’ve progressed towards your goals. For motivation, there is a forum where you can talk to other users of the app. You can read about other’s success stories and get recipe ideas and tips from others.
They have a big nutrition database that covers almost every single food known to man. The database has nutrition information on over 5,000,000 (yes, five million) foods.
The app can point you to delicious recipes for any of the food that is recommended to you. For your convenience, MyFitnessPal can save your favorite meals. This makes it much easier and faster to log meals you consume on a regular basis.
One thing I love about MyFitnessPal is their barcode scanner. Whenever you see a packaged food with a barcode, simply open the app, point your phone’s camera to the barcode and the app will instantly display nutrition info about the foods in the package. Talk about a timesaver.
Data for the day is presented in a pie chart format. It presents you with the amount of carbs, fat, and protein you’ve consumed for the day.
The app and website also allow you to keep a journal about your day. This can help you identify your good and bad habits. Plus, it is great to keep a journal so you can look back on how far you’ve progressed.
MyFitnessPal is essentially a free calorie counter app and website. However, you have the option to upgrade to a premium version at the cost of $49.99 per year.
The premium version has much more advanced features than the free version, such as exclusive articles and tips, priority customer support, ad-free usage and a lot more detailed nutrition information.
You’ll certainly derive a lot of benefits from using the free version, but if you can afford it, the premium version is worth the upgrade.
- Largest database amongst calorie counters. Its database includes several restaurant foods.
- It can calculate the calorie contents of recipes it downloads from the internet
- Easy user experience
- It has features that make it possible to add calorie information from meals quickly.
- A lot of the data is user generated. This means there can be some inaccurate data in their database.
- It can be difficult adjust the serving size in the database. So if you ate a larger or smaller meal than your recommended size, you might find it difficult to enter this in the database.
2. Lose It!
Lose It! is a weight loss app and website, with a health tracking app with features that help you track your food intake, track your exercise, and chat with other people on the same weight loss journey as you.
This calorie tracking app can give you personalized calorie intake recommendations based on your weight, height, age and your set goals. It then tracks the calories, telling you how much you’ve consumed and how much remains to be consumed for the day.
Lose It! also has an extensive food database (although not as large is MyFitnessPal). One thing I love about this app is that it is easy to add new food to your diary.
There are three ways you can add food for tracking.
- You can search for the food directly from the app or website if you know the name of the food.
- For packaged foods with a barcode, simply open the app on your phone or tablet, select to scan food, point your device’s camera at the barcode, and the app will automatically scan the food and provide you with calorie information about the contents of the package.
- An exciting new way to enter food for tracking is to take a photo of the food you to track. Yes, it doesn’t need to have a barcode. Just take a photo and Lose It! will identify the food and tell you the calorie information. And it is accurate as well.
It is also an exercise tracker, tracking how many calories you’ve burned during a workout. If you use a fitness device such as Fitbit, it can sync to it and add the fitness data to your exercise tracker.
You can get a daily or weekly report, detailing how many calories you consumed during that period and how much weight you’ve lost.
And if you need motivation, you can join the Lose It! community to read personal success stories, tips, and recipe advice. There is also a challenges tab where you can join challenges or even start our own and invite others to join.
You can use the app for free, but there is also a paid, premium version that costs $3.33 per month or $39.99 per year.
- They have a large food database. The database features popular foods from restaurants, popular brand names, and grocery stores.
- The app can remind you to log your meals
- Easy user interface
- Clear and easy to understand data
- Ability to invite your friends to act as cheerleaders on your weight loss journey.
- A calorie counter app with a primary focus on helping you lose weight but can also be used by those who have diabetes
- Can sync with fitness trackers such as Fitbit
- Could use a more extensive database. Some brand name foods were missing from the database.
- Some food does not have information on all the nutrients. In the end, you may end up receiving an inaccurate nutrient information.
- It does not track vitamins and minerals.
FatSecret is a 100% free, weight-loss-centric calorie counter. It has most of the features you’d expect to find on a calorie counter, including a nutrition database, food diary, exercise log, weight tracker, calorie tracker and healthy recipes.
Just like the two reviewed above, it also has a barcode scanner to make it easy to add packaged food.
On your personalized dashboard, you’ll get a report of the total calorie intake for the day. The calorie you consume is also broken down into carbs, protein, and fat. The app displays this information for the total for the day and each meal.
There is a monthly report which summarizes your daily calorie consumption over the course of the month. You then get an average daily calorie intake. For those who want to see their long-term progress, this feature from FatSecret is very useful.
The user-interface is very easy to navigate. Just like the two calorie counters above, FatSecret also has a user community where you can interact with other users of the app. You can chat, read personal success stories, post your own stories and tips. You can also view and share recipe ideas with other users.
A feature that many people find useful is the “challenges.” You can join challenges or start your own and invite others to join. This can be useful in motivating each other to complete common goals.
They have a wealth of articles on their website that help you to use their platform more effectively. You’ll also find articles and tips on weight loss.
- They have a large food database that includes nutrition and calorie information on several restaurant and grocery foods.
- FatSecret highlights user-submitted food information. This way you can tell which information may not be entirely accurate.
- If you are someone on a low-carb diet, you might find the “net” carbs feature very useful.
- Some people might find the user-interface to be slightly cluttered.
This happens to be one of the best calorie counters out there. It features a calorie counter, exercise log, weight and other biometric data tracker, journal and nutrition tracker.
Cron-O-Meter gives you precise serving size recommendation. If you don’t know which exercises to do, they have an exercise database with tons of workouts to choose from.
The calorie needs of pregnant and lactating women are different from non-pregnant women. Cron-O-Meter recognized this and created an option for pregnant women.
There is also an option for you to let the app know if you are on a special diet, such as low-fat, paleo, and low-carb diets. It even has an option for those on a vegetarian diet. They use this information to determine which macronutrients you should take.
The dashboard features an easy-to-use food diary. It also features a bar chart that shows you a breakdown of carbs, protein, and fat. You are also shown how many calories you’ve consumed and burned throughout the day. There is also a nutrient target chat which shows you how much of the recommended nutrients you’ve consumed throughout the day.
For those interested in keeping a close eye on what micronutrients are in your food, Cron-O-Meter is one of the best trackers for micronutrients.
It is a free diet app, but they offer an ad-free, premium service for just under $3 per month.
- The app and website are very user-friendly
- If you use a fitness tracking device such as Fitbit, you can easily sync data from the device to the Cron-O-Meter app.
- It can track all micronutrients.
- If you want to add a home cooked meal to the food diary, you are only allowed to do so via the website. However, the information you enter then becomes available on the app.
- Cron-O-Meter does not have a user community like the other apps. You are not able to chat with other users of the app
- The website is free to use, but you’ll have to pay $2.99 for the app.
SparkPeople is a feature-rich weight loss and fitness tool with calorie counting capability. It can track nutrition, calorie counts, exercise and progress to your targeted goal. It takes the information you provide and recommends a meal plan for you to follow.
It has a user-friendly food diary. If you consume certain meals on a regular basis, you can save them to your favorites for easy entry into subsequent days.
The dashboard displays an array of information, including how many calories you’ve consumed, how much protein, carbs and fats you’ve consumed, and how many calories you’ve burned during the day.
It is very easy to add recipes to your food diary. Their mobile app has a barcode scanner. When you want to look up nutrition and calorie info for any packaged food, simply go to the mobile app, choose the option to scan, point your camera at the barcode, and SparkPeople automatically identifies the product.Their food database has information on over 2 million foods, including
Their food database has data on over 2 million foods, including restaurant and grocery foods.
They have tips and articles from nutrition experts to help you along your journey. They also have fitness videos for those who don’t know which workouts to do.
You also have the chance to chat with millions of other users of the app. Read other’s personal success stories for inspiration. You can join or create challenges and invite others to join you. It is like have your own little fitness or weight loss group.
They have a free version of the web and mobile apps but, if you can, upgrade to their premium version to enjoy more features.
- Provides an excellent resource for people wanting to lose weight and stay fit.
- Ability to connect with most fitness tracking devices
- Provides workout videos and diet plans
- New users may find the web app a bit cluttered with too much information
- Some users of the mobile app claim to find it difficult to add food
Calorie Counters – How Important Are They?
Calorie Counters are essential tools for people looking to manage their weight. Whether you want to lose or gain weight, these tools can be the difference between success and failure. Nutrition is a very important aspect of your weight management journey, and having a nutrition tracker helps you determine what and how much you are consuming.
As important as they are, you don’t need to obsess over it. You simply want to have a clear picture of how you are eating so you can make changes if necessary. You can try it for a few days or a couple of weeks.
If you can use it daily, that is great but if you can’t, just stick to your program and you’ll be fine.
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