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FatSecret Calorie Counter review

Damien McFerran


Get the perfect body with this handy weight-loss app

Rating:

Verdict: With a great combination of visual aids and an simple interface FatSecret makes losing weight a pleasure

Platform: iPhone and iPod Touch

Pros: Easy to use, good visual data, lots of products to pick from

Cons: Products are aimed at North American users, barcode scanner could be better

Version Reviewed:  1.1

Publisher: FatSecret

Price: Free

More Info: App Store or FatSecret website

When summer comes around and brings with it the tantalising promise of decent weather it’s unsurprising that many people feel the urge to shed some pounds and get themselves back into shape. However, this is often easier said than done.

Without setting yourself discernable goals and keeping track of your food intake and exercise, it’s often not immediately apparent how you’re progressing.

That’s where FatSecret Calorie Counter comes in. Although it’s billed as a calorie counter it actually does a lot more than that. It’s possible to input your starting weight and goal weight, add in foods and exercise events and even view your weekly progress to see if you’re meeting your targets.

Entering your weight is a requirement before you can access many of FatSecret’s features as it needs to know this figure before it can assess how you’re doing. Setting a realistic objective is also a must – putting in some unachievable weight is only going to make you feel bad when you inevitably fail to hit it.

Once you’ve got this important info in the system you can start adding your daily activities. Obviously eating is one thing you’ll need to keep a close eye on – FatSecret Calorie Counter allows you to input your meals and select products which have an exact calorie count to ensure you’re getting accurate info. You can even use the built-in barcode scanner to find what it is you’re consuming.

It’s here that FatSecret betrays its North American origins; while you can pick from a dazzling selection of meals, products, brands and even restaurants, they’re all skewed in favour of an American audience.

It’s not an insurmountable issue – many generic foods are included so you can simply pick those – but it does mean that UK users are going to feel a little frozen out.

The next step is to tell the app what kind of daily activities you indulge in. You might assume this to be confined to exercise but FatSecret actually needs to know every aspect of your daily routine – including sleeping, sitting at a desk and even driving – as all of these things consume calories and therefore have an impact on your total.

Common foods and activities can be stored in your profile so you can replicate them across several different days, which saves you having to tirelessly input the same data many times over.

Once you’ve got a few days under your belt then you can take a look to see what kind of progress you’re making. The app uses fairly basic maths – the amount of calories you’ve eaten in a day minus the calories you’ve worked off – and displays your success with either a green arrow or a red one. No prizes for guessing what those two symbols indicate. You can also view a graphic which – if you’re doing well – should display a downwards slant.

To round it all off you can even sign up with the FatSecret website and sync your progress with the company’s dedicated servers. It’s then possible to log on and investigate your progress in greater detail.

FatSecret is the ideal companion for anyone looking to instil a bit of discipline in their lives. The easy input methods allow you to enter data quickly and the visual elements of the app show instantly if your routine is going as planned.

The only area which needs a little work is the barcode scanner, which is noticeably worse than rival scanners currently available on the App Store. Also, as previously mentioned, the app’s preference for American brands is a little disappointing but this may change over time as more UK users download it.

If you can live with this relatively minor niggles then FatSecret is likely to be the perfect companion app to see you through your new weight-loss regime.

 

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Stay in control of your diet with this excellent free app

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