How to count calories?

Home » Blog » How to count calories?

Home » Blog » How to count calories?

How to count calories?

How to count calories?

Surely, you know people (or maybe you’re even one of them?) who wake up in spring, look in the mirror and say “Oh, no! I’ve gained weight! I need to lose it until summer!”. Remember – every body is ready for summer, so nothing should hold you back from showing on the beach in swimming suite. Yet, it’s a good idea to use this time to introduce new habits, which will help you enjoy health and get in shape not only in summer, but forever. There are multiple ways to lose weight or take care of everyday diet; everyone needs to find the method that will be ideal for them. Is counting calories for you? Learn some pros and cons and see for yourself.

Counting calories – benefits and risks

Counting calories is rarely associated with something good, but at bottom it depends solely on our approach towards it.

BenefitsRisks
A high degree of freedom
You eat whatever you like and whenever you like.
Orthorexia
Obsessive counting of calories may take you one step closer to eating disorders, including orthorexia.
Flexibility
You can eat more calories on a certain day, because you will even your calories surplus during the following days, so that the weekly balance is appropriate.

Increase of nutritional consciousness
Do you know that a spoon of olive oil (app. 90 kcal) equals 3 squares of chocolate and 2 glasses of strawberries?

Low price
Appointments with a dietician are pricey. Using calorie calculator is a comparable expense to the one of an unhealthy fast-food (at the end of this article, we have a special offer for you).

A list of benefits is long, and risks are the same for every type of diet. The only way to avoid them is to be moderate and use common sense, as eating 30 kcal more will not make you gain weight.

How to count calories?

In order to count how many calories per day you eat, you need to read labels, on which you can find data concerning calories and macronutrients in 100 g and the size of a portion. When you determine, how much of a certain product you will eat (a portion of a size indicated on the label, less or more), you need to write down this information on a sheet of paper or in a special nutrition diary and calculate how many calories it is (if your portion is different than the one in a full package). 

Atwater system

You can also use the Atwater system to convert proteins, fats and carbohydrates to the corresponding number of calories. You need to multiply each macronutrient by Atwater index, which amounts to 4 kcal/g for proteins, 9 kcal/g for fats and 4 kcal/g for carbohydrates.

Calorie counter

As you can see, manual preparation of calculations for each product is time-consuming and tedious, therefore, it’s best to use mobile apps designed to count calories available in the market. Fitatu is such a calorie calculator. 

Fitatu is available for free or for a consideration in Premium version. The free version is mainly a calorie calculator. On the other hand, Premium version makes it so much more. Fitatu Premium becomes your nutrition assistant, thanks to which you can not only count calories, but also look for culinary inspirations in a catalogue of recipes, get suggestions of meals adjusted to your intake of calories, track your mood, frequency and quality of bowel discharge (useful especially in case of bowel diseases or food sensitivities), connect with sports apps or have your energy demand for training and non-training days indicated. 

See how simple counting calories with Fitatu is!

  • Search for a product with a use of a scanner or by entering its name manually.
  • Choose how much of a given product you have eaten and add the product or a dish to your daily plan. In Fitatu, commonly used standards, such as a spoon or a glass, will be of help.
  • Search for the next product / dish and do likewise.

In each meal, you can see the number of macronutrients included (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), and below – a summary regarding the entire day. At the end of the day, all of the indicating bars should be complete, but shouldn’t be red. 

However, keep in mind that in Fitatu, we show the total number of carbohydrates. It means that we include in them, among other things, fibre, the calories of which is counted by producers differently. So, it may happen that proteins’, fats’ and carbohydrates’ bars can be full, in contrary to the calories’ bar. Don’t worry. In such a case, apply the rule saying that calories’ bar is the most important one; you can also focus on proteins and fats. If the bars are not overdrawn, the excess of carbohydrates is irrelevant.

Pro-Tips for Fitatu calorie calculator

  • Alcohol, juices and soda are still calories! Don’t forget about them while adding products to the app!
  • Don’t miss a single candy. You may find out that you eat more of them than you think! 
  • Measure or weight the portion you intend to eat.
    Example: Eating crisps? Put a handful in a bowl and see how much you will eat. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to determine how much you’ve actually eaten.
    Research show that even dieticians can lower their daily intake of app. 200 kcal, what gives 1,400 kcal per week [1]!
  • Weight raw products, before cooking, lacking inedible parts (e.g. peeled-off, without the core) etc. Names like “pasta” or “rice” concern raw products before heat treatment. If you search for a product after heat treatment, insert appropriate expression e.g. “cooked pasta”, “cooked rice”.
  • In order to count calories of a soup or other dish you are preparing:
    • firstly, add it as a “New dish” (don’t forget to add all of the ingredients, which are to be consumed, in case of a soup e.g. water or broth, as well as number of portions of the dish you are preparing)
    • Then, on black label, choose the number of portions you intend to eat and accept your choice by clicking the arrow pointing right
    • Remember that grammage of the portion can change significantly. Don’t weight the portion after preparation, just use the number of portions of the dish you prepared as your basis.
  • If you want to add a dish from a restaurant or catering and you know only the number of calories in the dish, you can use “Quick add”.
    • Click “+” next to the meal, to which you want to add the dish.
    • Choose “Quick add” from the options above the keyboard.
    • Fill in the form and click “Save” in the upper right corner.
  • When you add new instant product to the database, e.g. kissel, check the label to see, if the nutritional value is of the portion of prepared product or of the 100 g of the product (powder). 

If the label contains the information of the nutritional value of prepared product, copy the value, including the grammage of a single portion (e.g. 1 portion has 105 calories and 200 g). When adding the product to the planner, take the number of portions as a basis, and not the grammage. Remember that no matter how much water you add to the product or how significantly you change the grammage of the portion, the number of calories in the portion does not change, as water has 0 kcal.

However, if the values concern 100 g of the product, copy them and add the information of the grammage from the label. When adding the product to the planner, take only the number of used packages as a basis. 

Is it a good solution for me?

You’ll not know until you give it a try! 🙂 It’s totally free, so download app and try it out. Count calories for 3 consecutive days, including at least 1 day of weekend, when we usually eat a bit differently than during the week, and see for yourself how many calories you actually consume. Than, try to start introducing changes during the following 3-4 days and manage the amounts of nutrients to fill in the bars properly.

Should you have any questions or look for support and motivation, join our Facebook group and you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for. And remember – don’t get discouraged! Introducing changes is a process and nothing will happen within a day, but this step is crucial on your way to your health and better shape on the fly. 

So? Will you try? 😉

Fitatu App

Download the app free of charge from Play Store or Apple Store and start counting your macro with us!
Prefer web app? No problem. A basic web version is available for our subscribers. And now you can use COUNT-8 discount code by going to https://www.fitatu.com/app/giftcode and get Fitatu Premium for 4,97€/month.

What else can you get in Fitatu Premium?

  • over 1,500 recipes plus a few dozens of new ones each month,
  • additional plans of intermittent fasting,
  • a possibility to create shopping lists, 
  • the choice of six menus with meals,  
  • filtering of products and recipes, 
  • better synchro with fit apps, 
  • access to web app,
  • no ads!

Bibliography

Catherine M Champagne et al., Energy Intake and Energy Expenditure: A Controlled Study Comparing Dietitians and Non-Dietitians. J Am Diet Assoc 2002 Oct;102(10):1428-32. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12396160/

Check also

Leave a Comment





Share with friends