Calorie counting 2.0?
August 26, 2008 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find an online calorie counter/tracker that works for me!

I've been using the PC version of FitDay for a long time. It has its quirks, but I learned to live with them. But as I'm spending less and less time on my home computer (and more time on my work and SO's computers), I'd like to find an online calorie tracker that meets these requirements:

- lets me use metric as well as US measure units
- lets me add custom foods
- has easy lookup of foods and adding to daily total
- is free to use

Bonus points for:
- grouping by meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner)
- defining custom meals or recipes
- defining favorite foods or meals for easy adding
- web2.0/AJAX/all the bells and whistles of modern web app design

I live in Europe so I'd probably add a lot of local food stuffs and products. One of the trackers I tried put everyone's custom food into a single shared database, which I think would be rather confusing. I tried online version of FitDay, but it was rather clunky. I also tried NutritionData, and it has the most un-user-friendly interface I've ever seen. After RTFM-ing and spending at least 30 minutes trying to add one single meal, I had to give up on it. I spent 10 minutes on SparkPeople before feeling totally overwhelmed and running away from it. I want to track calories, not participate in a community! (I'm a Hacker's Diet devotee, by the way.)

So, any other ideas, please?

(Alternatively: is there an easy way to use FitDay on more than one computer and share my user data?)
posted by gakiko to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I use SparkPeople, and I just ignore the community aspect of it entirely. The only part I can't speak to is whether it handles metric well, but I use it to do all of the other things you want it to do.
posted by adiabat at 2:20 AM on August 26, 2008

I like The Daily Plate for my food tracking needs.
posted by 26.2 at 3:08 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've experimented with a few, I use Gyminee- I think you can do everything you like there, it is totally online-based, and pretty user-friendly.
posted by mateuslee at 3:14 AM on August 26, 2008

I have been playing with Gyminee, too, and thought it doesn't have separation by meals as well as a few other weird quirks (especially regarding serving sizes), I get the impression from the forums that the people behind it are good about listening to their users' feedback and I can see it really going places in the future.

That said, there are two problems they really need to fix quickly. The first is the aforementioned serving size thing, and the second is the fact that users provide the bulk of their food database. This has never caused any major problems but it can sometimes be a bit frustrating to find a food you want and see somebody has edited it in an odd way.
posted by synecdoche at 4:49 AM on August 26, 2008

Calorie Count isn't too bad for this kind of thing. The database has a good variety of foods, or you can add your own info. There is a recipe analyzer (but watch the ingredients, sometimes it's tricky) which breaks down the dish into ratios, key vitamins, etc. There is a community component. You can post questions about recipes, exercise, etc and get fairly decent answers quickly. There are some boards, and they are obvious, which I would recommend you avoid at all costs. Metric is a common measurement and there seemed to be a number of European members. The interface is (or was last year) relatively white and clean... a little heavy on the ads, though I don't recall them being particularly flashy or noisy.
posted by wg at 5:09 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was just thinking the same thing this morning - thanks for all suggestions!
posted by mippy at 5:22 AM on August 26, 2008

seconding calorie count - they've just upgraded their website.
posted by kidsleepy at 6:26 AM on August 26, 2008

there's also food count which i've used regularly with

i've basically taken and excel grid and jotted down the main info of foods i eat (and i find i eat then same stuff pretty regularly) and simply cut and paste my days tracking that way.

no need to share my email address ever! deleting emails does not burn calories.
posted by eatdonuts at 6:38 AM on August 26, 2008

Here are some answers from last time.

I've been using Gyminee also because of the handy iPhone interface. Plus a lot of fast food/restaurant items are already available.
posted by cdmwebs at 7:08 AM on August 26, 2008

TheDailyPlate looks great - they have lots of international rather than US products with the option to add things.
posted by mippy at 7:16 AM on August 26, 2008 works great for quick lookups. When doing the search you are, I looked for a multiple computer and publishing feature, but never found one. I wound up using Google Docs to record calorieking info in a spreadsheet. Thus, accessible from any computer and had some publishing features available.
posted by GPF at 7:21 AM on August 26, 2008

When the original poster complained about a site that "put everyone's custom food into a single shared database," I suspect he was talking about the Daily Plate.

I use TDP myself, but I hate having to sort through hundreds of different olive oils or peaches or whatever, sorted by brand. Who cares which grocery store I purchased the apple from? Does Kroger's do something to their apples that impacts the caloric content?

Additionally, they'll have the same food in the database under different serving measurements (pick your favorite -- 4 oz or 113 g or half a cup) -- for this reason, entering meals and recipes is fraught with peril. Recipes will not calculate the correct calories if you ask it to convert between serving measurements. It's a giant pain.

I like TDP better than Sparkpeople, which is where I was tracking originally -- I much prefer the cleaner design. But the database is a nightmare.
posted by liet at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2008

I love I think it's incredibly simple to use, has a huge database of foods and seems to be run by one guy, or a small staff so they (he?) is receptive to suggestions and has already made some great upgrades.
posted by schoenbc at 10:38 AM on August 26, 2008

liet, I'm sure there's a difference between, say, Sainsbury's houmous and Tesco houmous. I'm whatever the pulse equivalent of an oenophile and can taste differences between the types. I did find it wouldn't let me enter 1.5 ;servings' of something.
posted by mippy at 11:50 AM on August 26, 2008

I use TDP myself, but I hate having to sort through hundreds of different olive oils or peaches or whatever, sorted by brand. Who cares which grocery store I purchased the apple from? Does Kroger's do something to their apples that impacts the caloric content?

Yeah, that irks. I usually enter my foods off the "foods I eat regularly ยป" link. That keeps me from hunting in the database too often. Over a month or two, I had almost all of my foods there and I only need to go to the database occasionally. It makes it easier for me since I'm using consistent portion sizes since I always use the same "apple" or "frozen yogurt" entry.
posted by 26.2 at 1:01 PM on August 26, 2008

i've tried a few of the free online calorie counters and i still don't think any of them beat it's got a lot of great, useful features but is still simple and easy to use, with an equally simple, clean, and easy to use interface. it's been the only way i have successfully lost weight and kept it off.
posted by violetk at 1:38 PM on August 26, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I'm trying everything out now. I'm also trying out online version of FitDay, which I guess is the logical choice, as I'm used to the PC version. So far, Gyminee looks great, but is not as flexible as I'd like (How do I see how much food there is in 1 serving? eg. sandwich - serving: 1. And how do I enter amounts in grams instead of servings?). Myfooddiary is not free. The Daily Plate I've tried before and it has that annoying shared DB thing. Myfitnesspal keeps giving me server errors (and also, I can use grams or oz instead of servings/cups on some foods only). CalorieCount looks ok, but I'm not too keen on its search. Yeah, I'm picky.

I think in the end I might give up trying to find the perfect solution and go with a spreadsheet. (Thanks for suggesting that too!)
posted by gakiko at 3:20 AM on August 27, 2008

My favorite site is - I love cooking, so I make a lot of recipes, and then input the ingredients to nutritiondata to get the nutrition facts for each meal, per serving. You can save them, so if there's a dish you make frequently, you don't have to input it each time. There's a conversion tool so if it only accepts inputs in grams or ounces, you can convert to that from cups or whatever. I use it for my blog, and it works really well. Also, it is free, and even has some fast-food meals in case you splurge and go to Arby's or something.
posted by wannabegourmet at 1:01 PM on September 13, 2008

As for your complaints ab gyminee, it is indeed possible to enter your own food data and modify that of others... I also live in the EU and find this program plenty flexible and suitable for entering my own food and modifying that of others. Seriously, give it a shot.
posted by mateuslee at 2:03 AM on January 14, 2009

« Older I hope they choke on the fumes...   |   Looking for a fix to Joomla's non-friendly content... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.