A calorie counter is a method of determining the amount of calories in a specific food or foods. Calorie counters are often found for free online, but they may also be found at gyms or in a nutritionist's office. Many people use a calorie counter to determine daily and weekly caloric intake for weight loss purposes or weight management.
A simple calorie counter may simply ask the user to enter the name of the food into a search bar. The counter will then search for the food within a database, and display similar matches. The user can choose the closest match, and the calorie counter will then display the caloric information for the food, as well as any other nutritional information, such as fat, protein, cholesterol, or carbohydrates.
This type of counter works well for those people who want to occasionally check a particular food, or who keep detailed food logs themselves. Nutritionists often find that keeping track of foods consumed can be an effective way to improve eating habits and decrease portion size, because people may not realize how large their serving sizes are. Even simple calorie counters can be an effective way to do this.
More complex calorie counters allow users to keep food diaries online, and to enter more than one food at once, or an entire meal. The calorie counter will then provide information on daily caloric intake, and where changes can be made for better health. This type of counter also encourages the user to be more accountable for every single thing he or she eats during the day, which is an effective way to promote weight loss, as well as to discover hidden sources of calories. For example, some coffee drinks or supposedly healthy smoothies that contain a lot of cream, sugar, and fat can contain as many calories as an entire meal, and a calorie counter can help to illustrate this.
Calorie counters may provide other information as well, including advice on the recommended amount of calories to be eaten per day according to one's height, weight, and amount of exercise. For instance, one will need to eat fewer calories for weight loss than for weight management, and those who exercise regularly will need to eat enough calories to nourish the body and the muscles. It may also be able to make suggestions regarding healthier alternative food choices, for those who are interested.