Top iPhone Apps for Calorie Counting on the go
The easiest way to lose weight is to control the amount of calories eaten during the day. In the past, counting calories was a chore. Nutritional information would have to be gleaned from the nutritional labels found on the back of the box of food and a food log detailing how many calories had been ingested during the day had to be kept. This process was tedious and laborious, and many failed to keep a food log for longer than a week or so. The smart phone revolution has changed things. iPhone developers have created a number of apps that make it much easier to track daily calorie intake. This article will take a look at the top iPhone apps for calorie counting during the day.
Image courtesy of elidr, Flickr
#1 – My Fitness Pal – Price: Free
My Fitness Pal is a calorie tracking tool that can be accessed through a browser or through a free app found on the App Store.
Once an account has been registered with My Fitness Pal, users are asked to input their personal details, including age, sex, weight and height. Using this information, My Fitness Pal calculates how fast the user’s metabolism is and uses this information to formulate a diet plan to help them lose, maintain or gain weight.
Food can be logged manually by selecting the type of food from a list or, alternatively, a barcode can be scanned in using the iPhone’s camera. My Fitness Pal is also capable of logging exercise.
My Fitness Pal also has a number of reports, which make it easy to track progress. A graph showing daily calorie consumption and weight can be viewed allowing users to visualise weight changes.
My Fitness Pal also contains a number of social networking features that help groups of friends to work together to achieve their goals. Food logs of friends can be viewed easily and a dynamically updated news feed which produces alerts when goals of friends are met or missed. This added peer pressure can act as motivation to stick to ones goals.
My Fitness Pal has a few issues, however. Adding custom foods can be a frustrating experience and many of the exercise options are lacklustre. Nutritional information is also user inputted and some foods have incorrect information listed, which can lead to inaccurate calorie tracking.
#2 – Lose It! – Price: Free
Lose It! is an iPhone app designed specifically to help users lose weight. Information released by the developers of the app has shown that users of Lose It! have lost, on average, 12lbs (5.5kg).
Lose It! works in a similar fashion to My Fitness Pal. User information is inputted and the app then calculates how many calories need to be eaten on a daily basis to lose weight.
Both food and exercise can be logged with a long list of user submitted foods and exercises plans already in place. Lose It! is also capable of scanning barcodes to make it easier to log what foods are eaten during the day.
Lose It! also features a number of social networking features allowing for groups to work together to help each other lose weight.
Unfortunately, like My Fitness Pal, inputting custom foods into Lose It! can be a fiddly and frustrating process. Lose It! also relies on user submission for nutritional information and, like with My Fitness Pal, some of this information can be incorrect which can lead to inaccurate calorie counting.
Image courtesy of Sugar Daze, Flickr
#3 – Restaurant Nutrition – Price: Free
Restaurant Nutrition makes it easy to calculate the amount of calories eaten while eating out at a restaurant. Using the iPhone’s GPS, the app shows a list of nearby restaurants and asks the user to choose which restaurant they are going to eat at. The app then shows the restaurant’s menu complete with nutritional information and asks what they will be ordering. The app then stores this information to be viewed later.
Unfortunately, Restaurant Nutrition is unable to track custom foods and does not link in with any other calorie trackers. This means that information about what was eaten at a restaurant will need to be copied and inputted manually from Restaurant Nutrition into another calorie tracker app.
#4 – Fitbit – Price: Free
The Fitbit, a pedometer capable of tracking steps taken as well as calories burned during the day, gained a great deal of popularity following its use on the TV show ‘The Biggest Loser’.
The Fitbit sits on a belt buckle and tracks daily activity throughout the day. The Fitbit iPhone app links with the Fitbit showing all the information collected by the Fitbit through the iPhone app. The Fitbit iPhone app is also capable of tracking food intake with a long list of foods to choose from.
Using the information collected by the Fitbit alongside the amount of calories eaten throughout the day, the app will state whether the caloric limits have been reached or exceeded, indicating whether weight will be gained or lost.
While the Fitbit app is free, the actual Fitbit device is not. Costing $100/£80 and it can be slightly burdensome to carry it around throughout the day. However, the Fitbit has been proven to be accurate at calculating daily caloric needs, which can lead to more accurate calorie counting over time.
#5 – Meal Snap – Price: £1.99/$2.99
Meal Snap offers a novel way of calorie counting. After taking a picture of food, the app attempts to calculate how many calories are contained in the food and then logs this information.
Unfortunately, the information provided by the app is, at best, a guess. While the app often correctly identifies what type of food is about to be eaten, the calculated calories can vary by as much as 500 calories. As such, the app is inaccurate at calculating the amount of calories eaten in a day.
All of these five apps are useful in their own ways. My Fitness Pal and Lose It! are two of the best in their class and both apps share a great deal of functionality – both are fantastic apps to count daily calorie intake. Restaurant Nutrition is also useful for logging food eaten at various restaurants. The developers of the app are continually updating their food database ensuring that the calories tracked by this app are as accurate as can be. The Fitbit app is a must for owners of Fitbit devices. By linking with the Fitbit, it provides users with accurate information about how many calories they have burned throughout the day allowing for accurate calorie tracking. Meal snap, while inaccurate, is a fun app to play around with, and a great indication of how future calorie counting apps will function. As the developers improve the accuracy of this app, its usefulness will increase in leaps and bounds.
This is brought to you by Goodtoknow Diets, the experts in wellbeing and low calorie diet advice.
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