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Weight-Loss Software > Carbohydrate Calorie Counter

Finding the Best Carbohydrate Calorie Counter

By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*

A carbohydrate calorie counter is a good tool for losing weight or controlling your carb intake—and a wonderful tool if you're trying to do both. That's why carbohydrate calorie counters are in high demand with diabetics and people on Atkins, South Beach, and similar diets.

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Not all such counters are equal, however. Here's what to look for when shopping.

Is it Electronic?

A printed carbohydrate calorie counter will soon go out of date, because nutrition facts often change and new foods are continually appearing in your supermarket. Tallying your intake with pencil and paper is also time-consuming.

Instead, look for a counter that you can use online or install on your PC. It will be faster (especially if it's on your PC) and in most cases more current. It will also offer helpful functions that are unavailable in a book.

Does it Cover Enough Foods and Nutrients?

Make sure your carbohydrate calorie counter has a database of at least 20,000 foods. The average supermarket offers 30,000.

Your counter should also monitor other nutrients besides carbohydrates and calories. Nutrients that figure in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and other maladies now number in the dozens. Especially important are fats (particularly saturated and trans fats); sugars; vitamins A, C, and E; selenium; calcium; sodium; and potassium. The more nutrients you monitor, the healthier you'll be.

Does it Have Built-in Intelligence?

The best carbohydrate calorie counters not only tally your calories and carbs automatically as you log each meal, but give you remarkable insight into your weight and nutrition.

At least one counter, DietPowerŽ, monitors your personal metabolism, thereby guaranteeing that you will reach your goal weight on your target date if you stick to your calorie budget. It does this by watching how your weight responds to the calories you eat, as well as those you burn in exercise, and tweaking your budget each day to keep you tracking smoothly toward your goal. It even knows how to fill gaps in your records when you skip a day of logging.

Some counters also display a single score (similar to DietPower's Nutrition QuotientT) that shows how well your eating matches your Recommended Dietary Allowances. In DietPower's case, the score reflects not only your intake of 33 nutrients, but each nutrient's importance to general health. Getting too much sodium, for example, will lower your score more than overdosing on relatively harmless niacin or riboflavin.

Does it Offer a Free Trial?

If a carbohydrate calorie counter that you're considering doesn't offer a free trial, run the other way. Any company good enough to earn your purchase will also have the confidence to let you see how their product works before asking for your money.

The free trial should last for at least a week—preferably two, because this will let you analyze two full weekends of eating. Many people eat differently on weekends than during the week.

Steer clear of trials that are "dumbed down," limiting the number of foods, nutrients, or other features. In those cases, the manufacturer may be trying to hide something.

(One carbohydrate calorie counter is totally free: DietPower®.

Is it Guaranteed?

Besides the backing of an expert scientific panel, a reputable carbohydrate calorie counter will offer you a money-back guarantee. In most cases, the guarantee is for 30 days.

Read the fine print. Some companies subtract a "restocking fee." Others will refuse to rebate the tax and shipping charges that you paid.

Can You Get Help?

DietPower offers phone and email support by English speakers who use its carbohydrate calorie counter themselves. This degree of support is exceedingly rare.


*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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