Updated: December 2017

Best Calorie Counters

When it comes to effective weight loss, there are two facts you can't avoid - caloric intake (how much you eat), and caloric burning (through exercise and normal daily activity). Of course your body size, metabolism, heredity, and other factors control weight gain and weight loss, but the most general prescription for losing weight is eating less - while still eating healthy - and exercising more. To aid you in this goal, there are a number of calorie counting solutions and calorie calculators that will tell you the caloric content of most foods, the amount of calories burned by performing certain exercises, and what your basic calorie requirements are to maintain your current weight, based on age, height, and weight. Let's start with some of the online calorie counters.

Calorie Counting Websites

What's the best calorie counting website? There are a lot of online sites that let you track calories and find out the nutritional content of your favorite foods, both homemade and fast foods - hard to say which one is the "best". Check out MyFoodDiary.com. They help you track your caloric intake, monitoring what you eat on a daily basis: "Our food diary makes tracking your foods easy. Simply search our database of over 30,000 foods and add your items to your food diary. Our system tracks calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. At the end of the day, you can view your daily report and the color-coded food analysis to understand the foods and habits that are sabotaging your health. The true power of our system lies in our motivational charts & reports. Each report or chart is customized to the individual needs of our members. Members can view their progress over time, receive personal tips, and even see what they would weigh in 3 months if every day were like today." This is a paid community site that charges $9 per month. My-Calorie-Counter.com has a big section that shows you the nutritional information on all the popular restaurants - Taco Bell, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, Baja Fresh -- did you know that Starbuck's Caffe Latte - Grande-sized with Nonfat milk has 160 calories? They also list calories and nutrition data for Weight Watchers, Healthy Choice, Stouffer, Dannon, Quaker, Power Bar, Snapple, etc. They offer a free online diet and exercise journal.
Finally, visit Calorie-Count.com. They have an even larger listing of nutrition and calorie information for just about every food - you can browse by restaurant, supermarket, beverage brand, fast food, etc. For foods, you can browse by baked products, nuts and seeds, soups and sauces, vegetables, etc. Their restaurant listing is particularly extensive, with Applebees menu info, Chevy's, Fresh Choice, Ruby Tuesday, Olive Garden, and much more. How many calories should you be eating each day? They have a tool to show your calorie target for specific weight-loss goals. Burning 500 extra calories a day, or eating 500 calories less per day, will result in about 1 lb. of weight loss per week.

Pocket Calorie Calculators

RECOMMENDED - The CalorieSmart Handheld Calorie Counter ($70) which looks like a normal calculator, but this little gem lets you look up nutrition and calorie information for over 35,000 food items, keep track of what you eat, and record how much your exercise. It also has info on menu items from 250 restaurants and over 500 different brands of specific food items, making it easy to keep on track even when eating out. It lets you transfer your data over to a PC to print up charts and reports, and it holds up to 12 months of your daily records to check out long term trends and patterns. If you are serious about watching what you eat, this is an affordable, powerful tool.

Calorie Counting Books

If you are more an offline person, consider a calorie counting book. Diet and nutrition books have been around for along time, with charts and table that outlint the nutritional information on almost every food or snack you can imagine. Check out The Calorie Counter by Natow and Heslin. Here is the description: "As battles rage about fat, protein, and carbohydrates, one fact remains unchallenged: too many calories lead to unwanted pounds. Nationally known nutritionists Annette Natow and Jo-Ann Heslin have updated their classic guide with all of the latest information to help you count calories, control weight, and improve your health. You'll discover : Calorie counts and portion sizes for more than 20,000 foods in hundreds of categories -- including 90 restaurant chains; take-out, organic, and vegetarian foods; and energy bars and drinks; How to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn; Why water burns calories; How to handle out-of-control portion sizes; How watching calories can add years to your life." Great big book, over 600 pages, not one of those 25 cent diet pamphlets like you see at the check out counter of the grocery store. Great shelf reference as well for years to come.