How to Use a Calorie Counter

by on September 20th, 2010
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Calculating calories used to take a lot of painstaking mathematics. Thankfully, that’s no longer true. There are many on-line calculators that will do all of the math for you, and sometimes provide other nutrition information.

You may wonder about some of the things you have to input. You may also not calculate some of the things you ingest…and some of the things you do. Missing any of these can mess up the math to a fare-thee-well.

Personal Information: Most calculators ask at least two of the following; height, weight, gender and age. This helps the calculator a lot, especially the weight. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn in an activity.

Grazing: This is one of the most frequent causes of dietary dilemmas. It’s easy to forget about that bite of cheese you had while making lunch or the cookies you had while serving your kids an afternoon snack.

These little nibbles are referred to as grazing, because most of us aren’t even aware we’re doing it. However, they can add up to a sizeable number of calories. You have to be honest with your calculator if you want reliable information from it. Either make sure you can’t graze, or input everything you eat.

Beverages: With a few exceptions, beverages contain calories. Many contain a *lot* of calories. The really good calculators have most of them in the “eaten” list, and you need to add them.

Portion Size: Your calculator will ask you this question, and the answer is important. If you drink a twenty ounce bottle of regular soda, you’re getting two and half portions. Listing it as one portion is going to cause problems.

Other foods don’t come with instructions as to what a portion is. Sites like nutritiondata.com can help you here. This site gives you portion size as well as all the other nutrition data you need.

Activities: It’s easy to forget to add certain activities in your calculator. Sleep is a good example. Even then, you’re burning calories, so be sure to add it to the calculator. Driving, shopping and even sitting at the computer may also be overlooked. Make a mental note as you go through your day and add in everything you do.

Calorie calculators are invaluable when you are trying to lose weight, watch your diet or otherwise keep a balance in calories. Find one that suits your needs best, and you can be in control of your diet once again.


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