Weight-Loss Software > Calorie Diet Counter
Choosing a Calorie Diet Counter
By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*
When looking for a calorie diet counter, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the profusion of choices. It's easy to separate the wheat from the chaff, however, if you follow these tips. They rest on more than two decades of experience in testing and building such counters.
Steer clear of any calorie diet counter that offers fewer than 20,000 foods in its database. The average supermarket offers 30,000. Make sure, too, that you can add your own favorite foods to the list by entering facts from their labels.
Beware of calorie counters that let users contribute foods to a community database. These are often rife with duplicates and errors.
Make sure your calorie diet counter accounts for calories burned in exercise. The best counters have a large database of exercises (up to 1000 in some instances) and factor your calorie burn for your current weight. Some (such as DietPowerŽ) also account for ambient air temperature and other factors.
As long as you are logging your foods anyway, choose a counter that reports not only the calories you've eaten, but also your intake of fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. This doesn't add any time to your logging task, but it does make you a lot smarter about your nutrition.
Especially important nutrients are saturated fat; cholesterol; fiber; vitamins A, C,D, E; folic acid; and minerals such as sodium, calcium, potassium, and selenium. These can help you fight or prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, birth defects, cancer, and many other maladies.
The dumbest calorie diet counters simply tally your calories. The smartest do a lot more. DietPower, for example, guarantees reaching your goal weight on a target date by monitoring your metabolism. It also shows you which of your favorite foods is best to eat next, and even identifies your Smart Second™ -- the food that is best for a second helping.
Look for a calorie diet counter that is free or at least offers a free trial and a money-back guarantee. It should also provide free phone and email support by people who actually use the program. A company that fails to offer these benefits doesn't have much faith in its product. Neither should you.
(If the manufacturers require you to enter your credit-card number to get a free trial, tell them "No, thanks." This is a sure sign of a poor product.
*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.