“There’s strength in numbers,” proclaims the parent site of app Calorie Counter. And the true strength of this robust nutrition app is the level of support you receive from developer About.com. Calorie counting can be a daunting task, but Calorie Counter insures you are never alone.
On its surface, Calorie Counter does what its name implies: Using a database of foods, it helps you track daily caloric intake. It also uses a database of activities to help you track daily caloric burn. Then, the app provides analysis so you can see whether your daily intake balances with your burn. Simple.
But wait, there’s so much more. The food database also provides nutrition information that the app analyzes to score your eating habits. My first day of tracking ended up a C-; turns out that frozen Italian-style meatballs are little fat bombs, and I ate about eight. Also, my level of activity was not enough to fully counter that nutrition mistake. You do burn calories grocery shopping, but not nearly enough.
When you first launch Calorie Counter, enter your true age, height, weight, and gender – no lying or the value of the app will be undermined. Eventually you will need to visit the main page to confirm your registration and launch the full power of the app’s nutritional support features.
Once you have entered your data, the app takes you to the Analysis screen, which shows a scale, much like the scales of justice. I launched this for the first time just after eating breakfast and the app told me that I had burned 1,463 calories. Turns out, this number represents the calories I will burn in one day simply by existing, based on my input data. So that is the value I start with on one side of the scale every day. To fill the other side of the scale (which reads “Consumed”), I go to the Food button in the bottom navigation bar.
The Food button accesses a vast database of foods, including many menu items from restaurants. You can also create custom entries; I created a custom listing for the way I take my morning coffee, which came to about 52 calories. Each meal and snack in your day fills the right side of the analysis scale.
Next, enter your Activity. This will add weight to the Burned side of the scale and allow you to Consume more calories. The Activity database is vast; no movement seems too small for this list, as it all counts toward burning more calories.
At the end of the day, the app analyzes your food log and presents a pie chart and a bar graph with the nutritional break-down. My intake of saturated fat was in the green zone until I ate those meatballs, then the bars went blood red. The app will also interface with its parent page to feed you targeted e-mails. I did not enter my food on the second day, and I received a motherly e-mail reminding me. This is what it means by “strength in numbers”: through gentle reminders and pushed, targeted articles, the app and site are your nutritional partners.
I would have rated this app five stars for its power and vast resources, but I did find a minor flaw. The databases of food and activities are difficult to navigate. They are searchable; however, the search is not intuitive and the results are not sorted.
There are many dieting apps to help you simply count calories, but Calorie Counter provides a powerhouse of nutrition resources from parent site CalorieCount.com, especially important for those with specific dietary challenges.