5 best calorie counters to determine how many calories you need to maintain, gain or lose weight

5 best calorie counters to determine how many calories you need to maintain, gain or lose weight
  • PublishedMarch 8, 2021

Best calorie counters: if you have been wondering how to count your calories, you are in the right place; because in this article, we are going to teach you how to count your calories and possibly review some of the five best calorie counters available today.

Calorie counting is very important and according to research, people who log calories are more likely to lose weight and keep it off in the long run.

In this day and age, calories are very easy to track. Several apps can help you to track your intake. These apps are accessible online; some are free while others are paid. There are apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and signing up takes no more than a minute.

Before we delve into these calorie counters, let’s first understand what calories are.

Technically, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Calories are a measure of energy, normally used to measure the energy content of foods and beverages.

This energy carries out important body functions for example breathing, brain functions, maintaining heartbeat as well as day-to-day activities like walking, talking, and eating.

The calories that are not used up by your body are stored as fat, and consuming more than what your body burns or uses up can will cause weight gain with time. We have written several articles about calories including “what are calories?” and “empty calories“. visit these articles to understand more about our topic of the best calorie counters.

How many calories should I eat per day?

The number of calories one should eat a day depends on many factors which among others include age, height, current weight, activity level, and metabolic health.

For those looking to cut off some pounds, aim at reducing your calorie intake to 500 fewer calories than what your body needs to maintain your weight. That way, you can lose one pound or close to (0.45 kg) of your body weight every week.

Average women (26–50 years) with a moderately active lifestyle need to consume about 2,000 calories every day to maintain their weight and 1,500 calories per day to lose 1 pound (0.45 kg) of weight per week. Of course, these estimates change when it comes to pregnant or breastfeeding mums. These have higher calorie needs.

Average men (26–45 years) with a moderately active lifestyle need to eat 2,600 calories every day to maintain their weight and 2,100 calories per day to lose one pound every week. The young men (19–25) years however have higher energy needs. They need 2,800 calories on average per day to maintain their weight and 2,300–2,500 calories per day to lose 1 pound every week.

For children, their calorie needs widely vary based on age, size, and activity level. The average toddler may require about 1,200–1,400 calories per day while average moderately active teenagers may need to eat around 2,000–2,800 calories every day. An active teenager may even need more than this.

How do I calculate my daily calorie intake? 

There are many websites or apps (calorie counters or calorie calculators) that can help you track your daily calorie intake. They are simple to use, all you need is to enter your details in the counter and the counter can determine the number of calories you need per day to maintain, gain or lose weight.

Let us talk about calorie counters in the next section

What are calorie counters?

Calorie counters are websites or apps that help to provide quick and easy ways to log the food you consume if you are trying to maintain weight, gain weight or lose weight. These counters also guide you when it comes to making changes to your diet, for example eating more or fewer carbs.

How does a calorie counter work?

Calorie counters are very easy to use. All you need is to input your details in the calculator, and it will figure out the calories you need to eat every day to maintain, lose or gain weight.

When you enter the data, the counter uses the Mifflin St. Jeor equation to calculate the resting metabolic rate i.e. calories you burn while at rest.

Then, based on your personalized lifestyle information including your sex, weight, height, and age, the counter adds the number of calories you need to fuel your body for daily activity.

Lastly, it either adds calories to help you gain weight or subtracts calories to help you lose weight. At the same time, it can also help you know the calories you need to eat every day to maintain your weight.

What are the best calorie counters in 2021?


Here are the 5 best calorie counters available in 2021 that can attain your fitness goals.


With fat secret, you have access to a food diary where you log the food you eat. This app scans barcodes of food packages to track your calories, and can also take pictures of the food. FatSecret has a diet calendar where useful information about the calories you’ve consumed and burned is shared.

It is a free app and allows you to upgrade to a premium service. A premium subscription costs $6.99 for one month, $19.99 for a quarter, and $38.99 for a year.


Apart from providing you with the information you need to make better health and fitness decisions, you get access to a community of people on the same health and fitness journey to support, encourage, and motivate you to achieve your goals.

The calorie tracker has an extensive food database, a meal-planning feature, a barcode scanner, and an exercise journal. All these provide an effective way to monitor the calories you consume and burn in a day.  It is a free app and upgradable to a premium service that costs $4.99 per month.


This app offers a range of features to help you stay fit and healthy. It has a barcode scanner to log food items with a database of over 845,000 verified foods, and a personalized Daily Calorie Budget to keep track of your calories, nutrition, and weight loss.

This calorie counter has a diabetes Tracker app to keep track of symptoms, medications, nutrition, exercise, and blood glucose.

It is free and syncs with other health and fitness apps such as Garmin, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Google Fit.

Lose It! App

Lose It! is a weight loss app based on calorie counting and weight tracking. The app will look at your weight, age, and health goals to come up with a personalized weight loss plan and daily calorie needs.

Basing on a personalized weight loss plan, the individual can use a barcode scanner to add some foods to your log or log his or her food intake into the app, which is linked to a wide database of over 33 million foods, restaurant items, and brands.

One feature that gives Lose It! An edge over other weight loss apps is the fact that it allows you to take pictures of food intake and portion sizes. This according to research helps to promote weight loss. There is also a community component, where participants are encouraged and motivated during their health and fitness journeys.


MyFitnessPal has a database of over 11 million different nutrition foods where you can log what you eat throughout the day. When you enter your food intake, the app then gives you a breakdown of the calories and nutrients in a report form or graphical representation like pie charts.

The barcode scanner makes it simple to log the nutrition information of some packaged foods. One of the interesting features of this app is a message board to link you to other users to share tips and success stories. You can search for healthy recipes with MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is free to download. You can also get premium features for $9.99, or sign up for a year for $49.99.

Are calorie counters accurate/do calorie counters really work? 

Much as calorie counters (apps and websites) offer some help, their calculations are merely rough estimates. Although some countries may be more accurate than others, none of them will be 100% accurate. This is because they can’t account for all factors involved in calorie-burning.

Much as they ask you to enter personal data such as your current weight, gender, and age to be factored into the calorie-burning equation, they may leave out other important factors like health status, fitness level, body composition, and more. This can lead to an overestimating underestimate of your calorie burn.

Are all calories created equal?

This is a common question that dieticians frequently come across. People normally as whether calories from fat, protein, and carbs are the same.

If we are to look at calories in terms of weight 200 calories will remain 200 calories, whether be from a pear or bread.  But looking at calories in terms of health, all calories are then not equal. This is where the difference between quantity and quality comes in.

Different foods of the same calorie quantity can have different nutritional value (quality) and definitely different effects on your health. In the same context, different foods will affect your metabolism, hormonal levels, hunger, and appetite differently.

Getting 200 calories from bread for example may not reduce your hunger to the same level as 200 calories from apples would do. You are more likely to overheated after eating 200 calories of bread than when you had the 200 calories from fruits say apples.

In nutshell, if you are looking to lose weight, a calorie is a calorie, and to lose weight, you need to eat less and burn more. But in terms of health, not all calories are created equal.

Bottom line

Calorie counters are easy to use and have been perfect solutions to problems of overeating, hard-to-follow diets, or unhealthy food choices. The apps will have suggestions for what you can eat on specific diets, count calories, and monitor fitness.

Our articles below will also give you more information and knowledge related to healthy eating, or about health in general.

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