Friday, February 22, 2008

The Great Experiment, Calorie Counters

...Is officially over. After a week of using Caloriecount, I have decided to go back to Sparkpeople.

I tried out Calorie Count ( because of its food database. Here's a prime example. Say you went to Costco this weekend. You bought some blueberry muffins. You have one for breakfast. You go to Sparkpeople ( and type in "blueberry muffin" in the food searcher. Here is what you will see: The first thing to notice, is that there are no Costco Blueberry Muffins on the list. So, we are left to guess at that point. Seemingly, a Starbuck's Blueberry muffin might be close. So we'll choose it. Here are the gory details about the Starbuck's Blueberry Muffin:

But, in actuality, the Costco Blueberry Muffin leaves this one in the dust! Over at Calorie Count, we look up the Costco Blueberry Muffin (which is on their list):

That's a whopping 61% more calories! It becomes easy to see how not having the right food on the food list can make a significant difference, even when you think you are trying to do the right things!

So, why go back to Sparkpeople? Here's the bottom line. At Calorie Count, when you log on, you see the following screen:

Now, this screen is actually quite cool. The "Burn Meter" on the right side of the screen attempts to approximate you caloric burn during the day. It is supposed to allow you to match calorie intake to calorie burn. The only problem is that when you go to enter a food in your diary, you lose your Burn Meter! Then, to top it off, when you log in next to enter your food, you don't get to see your entire food diary for the day:

This means that there is constant moving between screens. Also, while the graphical interface is nice, the one BIG thing that is missing here is what are my targets? I know how many calories, but what about carbs, fats, and protein? All this important information is missing.

Compare to this screen from Sparkpeople:

Food diary, calorie target, and breakdown. All in one screen.

So, for the foreseeable future, I will be using Sparkpeople. I may pop over to Caloriecount every now and then to check out some stuff on their food list, but just for the best informational display I've found so far, I think that Sparkpeople is it.

1 comment:

  1. That's really interesting.

    I found I had to spend a lot of time initially inputting foods I ate but after a few months, pretty much everything I typically eat had been inputted.

    I also try to take pictures of the nutritional information for foods I eat so I can easily add them when I get home if they aren't already listed.