Calorie tracker for those who eat actual food?
April 2, 2020 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Covid-induced stress eating has prompted me to start tracking calories again. Most of the apps for this focus on packaged and restaurant food where I eat mostly whole foods that have no barcode to scan. I’ve also noticed that the food databases for many apps are user generated and thus full of errors so I’d like to avoid that too. Is there an app that’s better for this kind of thing? I don’t mind paying if it’s good.
posted by genmonster to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My Fitness Pal lets me put in real food.
posted by Vaike at 8:54 AM on April 2, 2020 [10 favorites]

My partner has used My Fitness Pal for this. From her experience they have a pretty deep database of ingredients.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:06 AM on April 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Lose It! is pretty good. There are definitely crufty entries, since they pool user-generated input, but there's a little toggle to restrict your search "Approved results only," which ensures you don't see some delusional dieter's idea of a 50 calorie stick of butter.
posted by mumkin at 9:17 AM on April 2, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Cronometer. Pulls numbers from several non-user-generated sources like USDA and NCCDB. It is by far the best tracker out there.
posted by lindseyg at 9:19 AM on April 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

The USDA lists cover foods well as far as content goes. Here are some things. I used to write therapeutic diets in a hospital.

Read the caloric, fiber content, type of fats unsaturated vs saturated, for bread, if you are going to have a couple of pieces per day, it makes those calories easy to count.
But, here. Don't let the word diabetes scare you, the science of knowing what is in your food, energy wise is important for people who can't control their blood sugars and need help.

After a while you get to know what healthful snacks can bump up to become a comforting small meal. I just had a 90 calorie apple, a big one, with 4 pieces of organic baguette 100 calories, (these are skinny baguettes full of holes.) 4 Tablespoons of peanut butter. 20 gm fat 380 calories.

200 cals fat (mono unsaturated and poly unsaturated fats)
280 cals other carbs
9 gm fiber
16 grams protein
posted by Oyéah at 9:21 AM on April 2, 2020

Best answer: I would recommend Cronometer.

I left My Fitness Pal specifically because the user generated data was terrible. Teeeeeerrible.
Cronometer sources their data from government/academic sources (USDA, University of Minnesota's Nutrition Coordinating Center, and more,) as well as some commercial nutrition databases. They also have a user-submitted database but it's only for products with actual nutrition info and is verified by a human before it is made available to others. (You can have private entries and recipes, though, if you want.)
posted by OMGTehAwsome at 9:26 AM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks Oyeah! I am a health professional and know a lot intellectually about nutrition and metabolism. This doesn’t really affect what goes in my mouth unfortunately:(
posted by genmonster at 9:28 AM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Noom lets you put in real food, has a huge database, and gives a ton of flexibility in how you measure food. It’s a lot more than what you’re looking for though.
posted by HotToddy at 10:41 AM on April 2, 2020

Myfitness pal is irritating because the way things are categorized, descriptions and brands come before the type of food. So for me it's hard to quickly scan my own list alphabetically to click on an item again, especially if I didn't really use the listed brand. Like if I want to find olives, I have to remember to look for "BLah brand, olives" -- or if you put red peppers, it might say "organic large, red peppers" or something. And it's slow.
posted by nantucket at 10:49 AM on April 2, 2020

Cronometer. I trust it. I pay for gold and I love the features. I wish it had an easier recipe import though.
Now if only I would eat what and how I know I should.
posted by ReiFlinx at 11:08 AM on April 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I use the premier version of LoseIt. I find it to be pretty accurate and their recipe maker is the best I have seen.
posted by eleanna at 12:51 PM on April 2, 2020

I cook my own food, and I've been using MyFitnessPal since 2014. Yes, the database is full of user-generated monstrosities, but I figured that since the app was free, it was worth some of my time to manually enter my recipes and favorite foods. I now have my own reliable recipe database with around 230 distinct recipes I've made. Unfortunately the MFP iOS app only seems to contain the most recently used 150 recipes, so I sometimes need to use the web interface to find and add something I haven't made for a while. This occasionally makes me think about moving to Cronometer or MyNetDiary, but I'd hate to have to recreate all the data entry.
posted by brianogilvie at 2:27 PM on April 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Joyapp is $5/month but there is no advertising and no premium version being pitched. It does one thing, track calories eaten, and does it well.
posted by COD at 2:49 PM on April 2, 2020

I've used MyFitnessPal, lose it, and cronometer. Cronometer has by far - by FAR - the best database. The best user interface too.
posted by medusa at 2:52 PM on April 2, 2020

Hmm, I think I'm going to check out Cronometer.

I use Lifesum, which nobody has mentioned yet, and it's not terrible, but the database is hot garbage and there's a really annoying UI bug that they haven't bothered to fix for months. It's starting to irritate me.
posted by confluency at 8:18 PM on April 2, 2020

Just agreeing on Cronometer. I don't pay for it, but I may start some day. It's really great and has an incredible breakdown on nutrients/macros, etc.
posted by ceejaytee at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2020

Another nice thing about Cronometer is you can put in recipes, which can be either actual recipes or just things you happen to eat together. So I put in a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich (recipe: slice of bread, 30 g of peanut butter, 15 g of strawberry preserves), and then I can just add that to my Cronometer diary any time I have one ... and if I feel like I want to be ultra-accurate, I can explode the recipe and adjust the quantities (28 g of peanut butter or whatever).

I use the free version of Cronometer and really like it.
posted by kristi at 3:45 PM on April 6, 2020

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