Tired of carrying notebooks with you everywhere you go to record what you eat? Counting calories while balancing nutritional needs has always been a hassle with the old paper and pen method.
Papers get lost or smudged with stains from the food, pens can never be found when you need them, and worst of all, the awkwardness of having to ask for nutritional facts and scrtibbling away in the presence of friends or a date. The solution to all these woes is now here with the Diet Tracker! With this application, dieting tasks have become more streamlined, more efficient, and much less obvious!
Diet tracker includes a search feature to compile a record of foods consumed with every meal with the inclusion of nutritional labels. It also offers summarized views of meals with their nutritional information categorized through daily, weekly, monthly, and annual periods.
Personal favorites can be tagged for faster searching in the future from a specialized list, and the entries within the respectably large database can be modified and edited to be even more individualized. New features updated in the application allow extra information, such as weight and exercise, to be added to the daily logs as well.
The Break Down
The strongest feature of this application is it's inclusion of a self-contained database for nutritional information. With over 7,000 of the most common foods consumed by Americans along with their nutritional facts, as provided by the USDA, users will generally find the needed combination to accurately match their meal plans.
This feature by itself is common amongst this application's competitors, but the lack of need for wifi or a data plan makes this database stand out. Having a stand-alone database maximizes the applications convenience and opens it up for a wider range of users by being fully functional without dependency on the user's carrier plan preferences.
The ability to customize this list makes future searches even more convenient as specialized items can be added for unique dietary requirements and favorites
can be saved for quick access. A feature not often found for the databases in other programs include the ability to remove or delete entries from the list. This allows users to slim down excess information and speed up the efficiency and accuracy of the search process.
The search function is also more intelligent in it's search parameters by accommodating common grammatical errors such as proper capitalization and use of apostrophes. The search results are well designed by allowing for a wide variety of options with serving size inputs.
The information recorded by the user is displayed in a concise format that makes it easy to tabulate the amount of calories and other nutritional information, such as protein and fiber consumption. The daily data can be compiled together for specific periods of time, making the task of adding together all the information more concise and efficient by eliminating the need for manual user calculations.
The bonus features like weight and exercise information allow for the user to extend the usefulness of the application beyond a diet tracker to incorporate functions of a well rounded health organizer. A side benefit from being an iPhone application is the subtlety with which the user can input all these information. No one would suspect the calorie counting in lieu of a common text message or e-mail check.
A limiting factor of the search feature for this application is it's inability to recognize mnemonics and abbreviations of common food items. An example of this is shown when the application fails to discover any results when K.F.C is entered, but discovers a wide range of menu options for the keywords Kentucky Fried Chicken. The database is also lacking in that it only accounts for the most well known brand names. Brands like McDonald's is easily recognized but Carl's Junior is no where to be seen.
The compilation of recorded meals for viewing is rather convenient but is missing a few categories of nutritional facts. While it displays the most commonly tracked information like calories and carbs, it overlooks essential but under-emphasized data like daily vitamin intake. One feature that would further round out this application would be an option for a ratio comparison of user meal inputs with standardized daily nutritional recommendations or preset daily goals. This would allow users to more precisely adjust their meal decisions throughout the day to reflect their nutritional needs.
One final flaw with the application is the necessity for the user to reset the database prior to the first use or no results would show when using the search function. Although this is a minor inconvenience that requires a one time set up that's well explained in the description, unnecessary user error can be prevented if this extra process can removed in future updates (especially since most users' don't read the description in detail and the explanation is also near the end of the description).
The Diet Tracker is definitely a major improvement for anyone that still uses the archaic and troublesome pen and paper method of counting calories. It offers a streamlined and efficient process for documenting meal intakes as well as offering a more socially smart approach to recording dietary goals. It's extra features over it's competitors definitely makes this application more ergonomic and user friendly, and at a price of $2.99 it offers more features than similarly priced rivals. This is definitely the application for all the calorie counters out there and a great value from currently available selections. However, for the less dedicated layman this is a program to keep an eye on in the future as it has the potential to be an excellent health and dietary guide.