Tracking your food and calorie intake from time to time is important.
Research shows that people who do this lose more weight. Not only that, but they also have an easier time keeping the weight off in the long run.
Counting calories is actually very easy to do these days. There are many incredibly useful websites and apps that help you log your meals and track your intake.
This article reviews the 5 best calorie counters available today.
All of them are accessible online on a website, and signing up takes less than a minute. They also have apps for iPhone/iPad and Android phones and tablets.
Last but not least, most of them are 100% free.
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie counters right now.
It tracks your weight and calculates a recommended daily calorie intake. It also contains a well-designed food diary and an exercise log.
The homepage provides a clear picture of how many calories you�ve consumed during the day. It also shows how much of your recommended intake remains, as well as how many calories you�ve burned by exercising.
If you�re using a fitness tracking device, MyFitnessPal can likely sync with it and then include the data in the exercise log.
The app tracks your progress towards your goals and offers chat forums with fellow users. These include conversations, recipes, tips and personal success stories.
MyFitnessPal�s nutrition database is huge, containing over five million foods. You can also create custom foods and dishes, or download recipes from the internet.
It even saves your favorite meals, so you can log those quickly.
Additionally, the MyFitnessPal app has a barcode scanner, so you can instantly enter the nutrition information of some packaged foods.
Each day is presented as a pie chart, showing the breakdown of carbs, protein and fat. You can also write a note for the day, such as how the day went or how you were feeling.
MyFitnessPal does offer a free version. However, some of the features can only be accessed in the premium version, which is $49.99 per year.
- MyFitnessPal has the largest database available in a diet tracker, and it includes many restaurant foods.
- It can download recipes from the internet and calculate the calorie content of each serving.
- You can �quick add� calories if you don�t have the time to add details about a certain meal.
- Most of the foods are uploaded by other users, so they may not be entirely accurate. There may also be multiple entries for the same product.
- Serving sizes in the database may be hard to edit, creating difficulties if your serving was smaller or larger than the one listed.
2. Lose It!
Lose It! is another health tracker that includes an easy-to-use food diary and exercise log. You can also connect a pedometer or other fitness device.
Based on your weight, height, age and goals, Lose It! provides a personalized recommendation for calorie intake. It then tracks your calories on the homepage.
It has a comprehensive food database, and an icon representing each food entry. The food diary is simple, user-friendly and it is very easy to add new foods.
Additionally, the Lose It! app has a barcode scanner for packaged foods. Commonly eaten foods are saved for quick entry later on.
Lose It! keeps a daily and weekly total, and presents weight changes on a graph.
They also have an active chat community and a tab called �challenges.� Here, you can participate in challenges or make your own.
With a premium membership, which is $39.99 a year, you can set more goals, log additional information and get some extra features.
- Lose It! has a food database complete with popular restaurants, grocery stores and brand name foods, all of which are verified by their team of experts.
- The app lets you set reminders to log your meals and snacks.
- It is hard to log home-cooked meals and calculate their nutritional value.
- The app can be hard to navigate.
- LoseIt! doesn�t track micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
FatSecret is a free calorie counter. It includes a food diary, nutrition database, healthy recipes, exercise log, weight chart and journal.
A barcode scanner is also included to help track packaged foods.
The homepage shows total calorie intake as well as the breakdown of carbs, protein and fat. This is shown both for the day and for each meal.
FatSecret offers a monthly summary view, which shows total calories consumed each day and total averages for each month. This feature may be very convenient to track your overall progress.
This calorie counter is very user-friendly. It also includes a chat community where users can swap success stories and get tips, recipes and more.
FatSecret also offers a feature called challenges, where users can create or participate in challenges in a closed group of people.
Their website is full of information and tips, as well as articles on a variety of topics.
- The food database is comprehensive and also includes many supermarket and restaurant foods.
- Foods submitted by other users are highlighted, so users can verify if the information is accurate.
- FatSecret can present �net� carbs, which may be very handy for low-carb dieters.
- The interface is rather cluttered and confusing.
Cron-o-meter lets you easily keep track of your diet, exercises and body weight.
It offers very exact serving sizes and a good exercise database. There is also a profile option for pregnant and lactating women, based on higher calorie needs during those periods.
You can also tell Cron-o-meter if you�re following a specific diet, such as the paleo diet, low-carb diet or a low-fat vegetarian diet. This changes the macronutrient recommendations.
The food diary is very simple and user-friendly. Below it, there is a bar chart showing the breakdown of carbs, fat and protein for that day, along with total calories consumed.
Cron-o-meter is particularly useful for tracking micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
It offers a Gold upgrade for less than $3 per month that includes no ads, advanced analysis and some extra features.
- Very easy to use.
- You can sync data from health devices to the app and import weight, body fat percentage, sleep and activities.
- It tracks all micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
- Cron-o-meter does not divide the food diary into meals.
- You can only add a home cooked recipe on the website, not the app. However, the meal will be available in the app after that.
- It does not have a social community of users.
- Although the website is free, the app costs $2.99.
Sparkpeople is another full-featured calorie counter that tracks nutrition, activities, goals and progress.
The food diary is relatively easy to use. If you tend to eat the same thing often, you can copy and paste that entry into multiple days.
At the bottom of each day�s entry, you can see the total calories, carbs, fats and protein. There is also an option to view the data as a pie chart.
Recipes are very easy to add, and the app is equipped with a barcode scanner so you can easily register packaged foods.
SparkPeople�s site has a massive community. There are lots of resources, including recipes, health news, exercise demos and articles by health and wellness experts.
The free version has one of the biggest food and nutrition databases on the web, but you have to upgrade your account to gain access to many of the other features.
- The website is full of resources on a variety of topics.
- The site may be overwhelming for new users since it contains so much information.
- The content is spread over several apps, which are based on different forums, for example one for pregnant women and another for recipes.
- Users sometimes have trouble logging foods in the app.
Calorie Counters Can Make or Break Your Success
Calorie counters and nutrient trackers are incredibly useful if you are trying to lose, maintain or even gain weight.
They can also help if you are trying to make specific changes to your diet, such as eating more protein or fewer carbs.
However, there is no need for most people to track their intake all the time.
Just do it for a few days/weeks from time to time to get a clear picture of what you are eating.
Then you know exactly where to make adjustments in order to get closer to your goals.