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What is a Portable Calorie Counter?

By Victoria Blackburn
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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Many people manage their calorie intake through a complicated process of recording food choices and cross-matching to the equivalent calorie count in a book. A portable calorie counter is an electronic, hand-held device with an internal database of thousands of foods, hundreds of brands and their caloric value. When a user enters a particular food or brand into the device, the calorie value appears on a small display screen. The small size of the portable calorie counter allows it to fit easily into a pocket or purse.

A portable calorie counter is not restricted to just measuring calories. For someone who is conscious about monitoring nutrition and exercise, there are many other useful features offered by this electronic device. By entering relevant information in real time, the portable calorie counter becomes a diet and exercise journal, enabling the user to check totals daily as part of a regular monitoring program.

Another function available on the portable calorie counter is an analysis of the energy expended by the user on any given day. If the user enters all food choices, including items often forgotten such as sauces, condiments and juices, as well as the amount of exercise undertaken, the portable calorie counter calculates the net energy used and displays the number of calories burned. The user is then able to make adjustments to the food and exercise intake for subsequent days to balance out his or her diet and exercise program.

Also, users are able to add favorite recipes to the database to complement the nutritional information already available. The portable calorie counter analyzes the ingredients in these recipes and stores the calculations in the memory. The database has the capacity to store up to twelve months of information.

Some models are available with a USB port and the ability to connect to a personal computer. The benefit of these models is that information can be downloaded from the portable calorie counter and used to track progress against fitness and weight loss goals. A variety of reports and charts are also available for viewing or printing. Lower cost models are also available without the USB and computer connectivity.

This device is very versatile, making monitoring energy consumption easy. There is no need to carry around calorie counting books or pen and paper to keep track of food intake, or to find statistics to measure the number of calories consumed through a particular type of exercise. The portable calorie counter provides an objective method of monitoring the information a user needs to get the maximum benefit from a diet and exercise program.

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Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Aug 07, 2014

I don't know, but I think figuring out serving sizes would be the biggest problem with the counters. As we all know, serving sizes are often times way less than the amount any normal person eats. If I went to a restaurant, how would I know how to determine the amount of food on my plate so I could enter the data properly? Yes, I think this would be a challenge.

By Animandel — On Aug 06, 2014

This sounds like there might be some drawbacks. With all the food choices available, how many of them would actually be programmed into this counter, and how easy would finding the foods you are looking for be? I'm sure this portable calorie counter has many benefits, but I think there have to be some negative aspects to it, too.

I'm not trying to be negative. I only want to be realistic. I imagine the calorie counters will get better as the technology gets more advanced.

By Laotionne — On Aug 05, 2014

I must get one of these immediately. Having tried diet after diet, I know how hard keeping track of calorie intake and the nutritional value of the foods I eat can be. This portable calorie counter really does sound like the perfect way to keep count of how many calories are in the foods I eat.

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