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Weight-Loss Software > Calorie Counter Watch

Finding a Calorie Counter Watch Companion

By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*

A calorie counter watch is a wrist-worn device that counts the calories you burn in exercise. It's a nifty tool, but if you're trying to lose weight, it shows only half the picture—you also need to count the calories you eat.

You can count these calories by checking food labels and keeping a tally by hand, of course, but it's easier to use your computer. There are two ways to do this:

  • Websites. Online calorie counters have one advantage: they're often free. But they usually make you look at ads, sometimes spam you with marketing emails, and may not afford you complete privacy.

  • Software. Calorie counters that you download and install on your own computer are not only ad-free and private, but usually work faster because they don't have to communicate with the Web. Their main drawback is their cost, usually between $20 and $50.

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Whichever option you choose, here's the kind of calorie counter watch companion you should look for:

An Accurate Calorie Counter Watch Companion

Beware of calorie counters that rely on outdated food databases. The gold standard is the U.S. Departent of Agriculture Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, updated every year or so by researchers doing original nutrient analysis.

A Fast Calorie Counter Watch Companion

You will spend more than 90 percent of your time in a calorie counter finding and logging the foods you eat. Choose a calorie counter that can locate a food within a second or two, even if you misspell it. Don't accept one that makes you scroll through long lists or specify what "food group" an item belongs to. Make sure it remembers your favorites and lets you add your own foods and recipes to the list.

A Versatile Calorie Counter Watch Companion

Besides calories, the product you choose ought to watch over your intake of nutrients such as calcium; saturated fat; trans fat; cholesterol; sodium; potassium, vitamins A, C, and E; carbohydrates; protein; folic acid (if you're a woman of child-bearing age); water; and alcohol.

In addition, it should let you log the calories you've burned in exercise, so they can be subtracted from those you eat.

A Free Calorie Counter Watch Companion

The best calorie counters can be used free for a week or more before purchase. Some limit your use by counting days; some by counting the number of times you open them. If a company doesn't offer a free trial, think twice about the likely quality of their product. (DietPower can now be downloaded free of charge. It works permanently at no cost whatsoever.)

A Guaranteed Calorie Counter Watch Companion

Even after you buy, good calorie counters offer a full money-back guarantee. If the calorie counter watch companion that you are evaluating offers no warranty, beware.


*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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Last modified August 12, 2010

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