A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Counting calories? There’s an app for that

calorie appsWant to lose weight and use your smartphone to help stick to your plan?

You’ll have no shortage of app options to help you on your weight loss journey.

Dozens of iPhone and Android apps are available to track everything from calories consumed, calories burned and foods you eat.

“For someone comfortable with technology, calorie tracking apps are quite useful,” said Marshfield Clinic Dietitian Chrisanne Urban. “People are less likely to carry a hand-written food journal with them throughout the day than their smartphone. People who do the best with weight loss are diligent in tracking their food consumption.”

Try an app at no cost

Many calorie-counting apps are free, but offer advanced options at additional cost. Here are some popular free apps:

  • Calorie Counter – Tracks food, exercise, weight and nutrients. Can log meals by voice and barcode scanning. Includes daily inspirational articles, healthy recipes and an easy-to-understand help section.
  • Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal – Has a food database with more than 4 million items. Lists more than 350 exercises to provide nutrition analysis and fitness goals.
  • Calorie Counter by MyNetDiary – Personalize a calorie limit for weight loss. Food diary helps track carbohydrates, fats, protein, calcium, trans fat, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and saturated fat, exercises, body weight and shows progress charts.
  • Lose it – Easy-to-use food and exercise log. You can connect a pedometer or other fitness device.
  • MyFitnessPal – Contains largest database available in a diet tracker and includes many restaurants.
  • MyPlate Calorie Tracker by Livestrong – A food-and-fitness diary with a large food item and exercise database. Offers related apps with additional services.
  • DailyBurn – Tracks calories burned and is backed by the online fitness community DailyBurn Tracker.
  • SparkPeople Food and Fitness Tracker – Offers food and exercise databases, but also includes hundreds of exercise demonstrations.
  • Weight Watchers Mobile – Follows the Weight Watchers plan, offers interactive tools and finds local resources.

Dozens of fitness-based apps also offer calorie tracking, while other health- and fitness-related apps are offered in bundles.

“If you feel overwhelmed with the thought of keeping track, try to set a goal of keeping track for one week,” Urban said. “This might give you incentive to keep tracking.”

Urban cautioned that every person is unique and some calorie counters are aggressive in determining a person’s calorie restriction based on their height and weight. A consult with a registered dietitian may be helpful to determine which calorie counter may work best for you.

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