LOS ANGELES — It's that time of year again: New Year, New You — and most of us say we want to lose some weight.
Well, there's an app for that — in fact there are dozens of apps for that. Today we're going to look at two of the most popular calorie-counting apps,MyFitness Pal (Apple, Android, Windows andBlackBerry) and Lose It (Apple and Android).
Both operate similarly:
Basically, you tell the app how much weight you want to shed, it gives you a daily dose of calories to achieve that goal, and you then input what food you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
The idea is that if you take the time to write it down, you'll eat less.
But as we know, manually typing in eggs, soup and a chicken salad sandwich is time consuming on a touch-screen.
The great thing about the apps is that they learn your tastes. If I type in "apple" or "Crispix" once, the next time I just have to go to "My Foods" and select it.
Best of all, both apps have cool bar code scanners. This makes it much easier to monitor what you're eating. In the kitchen, I easily picked up bar code scans for everything from rye bread (not on the diet, I know) and rice cakes to cereal, liquid eggs and even succotash.
When you're done adding the food you eat, you type in calories burned from exercise to get additional calories to work with.
For instance, if my day starts with 2,000 calories, the number starts to go down, as I eat. But if I go on an hour walk, I get a bonus 300 calories — enough for a few more apples.
The apps have formulas that estimate the calories burned for specific exercises — for instance you can get 829 knocked off for rollerblading on Lose It.
Of the two apps, I have to give the nod to MyFitnessPal, and the reason is the restaurant database.
MyFitnessPal did a better job picking up food I liked at restaurants. For instance, Talking Tech fans know my favorite restaurant is Chipotle. When I wanted to add "Burrito Bowl" from Chipotle into MyFitnessPal it was in the database — but nowhere to be found on Lose It. I couldn't even get info on items from the huge Subway chain. (Lose It did have California Pizza Kitchen, by the way.)
But either way, if you start typing in what you eat, you could end up carrying around less weight in 2014. And we'd all love that, right?
Readers: What's your favorite calorie-counting app? Let's chat about it on Twitter, where I'm @jeffersongraham.