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Weight-Loss Software > Calorie Counter Guide

What's the Best Calorie Counter Guide?

By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*

A good calorie counter guide will not only keep track of your calories, but do a lot more to keep you healthy as you lose weight. My company makes a leading brand (it's advertised on this page), but my purpose here is to educate, not to sell. Here's what to look for when shopping for such a guide:

Food Database

Don't bother with a guide that covers fewer than 20,000 foods. You'll find at least that many in most supermarkets these days.

Top Calorie Counter Guide
Download it free. (No strings.)


Make sure the guide makers aren't inflating their food count by including duplicates under alternative names ("oatmeal" and "oats," or "frankfurters," "hot dogs," and "wieners," for example).

Beware of online guides that allow users to contribute foods to the database by keying in label facts. These are usually riddled with duplicates and errors. Ask whether the site's editors carefully check the data. This is rare.

Exercise Database

Besides tracking what you eat, a calorie counter guide should award you extra calories for exercise. Choose one that covers at least 500 activities, from sports to leisure activities to occupations.

Make sure it factors your calorie burn for your current weight. If you're lucky, you'll find one (like DietPower®) that also tracks water loss through exercise.


No guide should require you to spend more than five to ten minutes a day logging your meals. Test-drive your leading candidates for a few days. (If they don't offer free trials, go elsewhere.)


An exceptional calorie counter guide will also track dozens of health-sensitive nutrients such as saturated fat, trans fat, folic acid, cholesterol, calcium, and many vitamins.

In addition, some guides will show you graphs, charts, or (in DietPower's case) a single "Nutrition QuotientT" that indicates how well balanced your diet is.

Look for a list of features and functions. (You might want to start with DietPower's comparison chart.)


Unfortunately, most calorie counter guides offer poor support. Emails go unanswered for days, and telephone calls (if you can find a number at all) may never be answered.

DietPower is one of the rare ones: we offer both email and 800-number phone support round the clock, 365 days a year. If you look hard enough, you may find others who come close to this—we haven't done a survey lately.


*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist and consumer advocate who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading maker of nutrition and weight-loss software.

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Copyright © 1992-2016 by DietPower, Inc., 7 Kilian Drive, Danbury, CT 06811. Phone 800-852-8446. All rights reserved. The name DietPower and the apple and runner symbols are trademarks of DietPower, Inc. Information on this site is meant to increase your awareness of the importance of nutrition to health. It is not meant to substitute for the advice of a health professional.

Last modified August 12, 2010

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