If This Were Easy…

…I would know who I am

They say you are what you eat, so I figure tracking what I eat must be the path to self-discovery.

FitDay CalorieCountPlus DailyPlate Gyminee Spark People
Goal Setting Per nutrition item tracking included Just general weight loss goals The pro account, for an extra charge appears to offer per nutrition item tracking Some sub-goals for nutrition, others are for pay features. I like the way they’re laid out, though. Nicely done with options for setting weight loss goals, whether short or long term, as well as lots of individual nutrient goals.
Public Profile Nice display of nutritional info, but no display of activity Apparently I will have to add things to it somehow, but here it is.Also offers free weight tickers for other sites though not a vertical one that I could use in the sidebar. Overly busy, but otherwise okay. The pro account also offers postable widgets/tickers for other sites via a javascript call. Nice weight loss chart, but just a twitter like stream of activity rather than a nice chart of daily food intake.

Offers a postable weight widget for other sites via a javascript call.

Main page is ridiculous, but log pages aren’t so bad. Very MySpace/Facebooky and busy.
Ease of Use
General When entering a new food, the tab order on the chart differs from a standard nutrition label.Ability to add foods directly from search results without a ton of extra clicks is great. Lots of additional clicks needed to add an item to your daily total.

Love that it remembers what day I’m loading data for if I’m filling in yesterday’s info so I don’t have to keep changing the date. It would be nice if there were easy buttons for scrolling back through previous days logs, though.

Lots of additonal clicks needed to add an item to your daily total.When searching, no easy to clarify search box without scrolling or retyping.

Have to do some of your own math for serving size adjustments if there isn’t a version that offers up what you want.

Quick add function is nice. Date switching options are particularly well done here.

The main problem is that everything you do pops up new windows (often more than one) and involves many clicks.

Frequently Used Items Recently used foods, as well as your custom foods. Fairly easy to add again. Displays recent items, but no frequently used list that I could find. Pain in the ass to add again. Can be grouped together as meals or workouts. Sort by frequency or recency. Easy to add a custom meal and then add to day. Must manually add favorites.’Recipes’ can be used for custom meals. Manually add to favorites. You can also go back in your history and copy a meal.

You can group foods as a meal.

Adding Recipes Not available. Recipe analyzer may be the greatest thing ever invented. Seriously. You can copy and paste straight into a text box and it automatically figures everything out for you. Only allows cups, tablespoons, teaspoons and servings when entering recipes. WTF? How is that useful? I mean, really. Ounces? Hello?You must manually add each ingredient separately. Add ingredients individually, but the interface for doing so is fairly fast and easy. Somewhat difficult to find foods that necessarily match your measurement unit, however (ie, ounces vs. grams, or teaspoons vs. 1/4 cup) so have to do some pre-converting on the numbers. Is located on a separate site, sparkrecipes.com. Has the same interface issues as the main site — too many pop-up boxes, too many clicks.
Search Results
Really low information search results makes it very hard to choose which item you might want without clicking for details. It does offer a quick add option, but how would you ever know to use it? Clean, low scroll search results, however, search box is bottom of page if you want to refine your results. No ‘generic items’ limiter.

Lots of scrolling for search results. Do they really need the mostly blank (or simple brand logo) images?

Good limiters — my foods, generics foods, etc.

Lots of scrolling for search results. Do they really need the mostly blank or brand logo images?

One of the better search boxes of all the sites, though the fact that it’s a pop-up window is annoying. The suggestions that pop-up as you type are great, and the search options are very helpful.
Branded Items in Database
Kellog’s All Bran Bars Not right flavor Not right flavor Yes Not right flavor Yes, but no specific flavors
Swiss Chalet No Yes Yes Yes but not sour cream No
Heinz Beans No No Yes Yes No
Haagen-Dazs Dulce De Leche No — and can I just say a giant WTF to this? Never in the history of dieting has their been a person an diet who didn’t at some point say ‘fuck it’ and grab a pint of Haagen-Dazs. The entire Haagen-Dazs product line is essential, people! Yes Yes Yes Not right flavor
Booster Juice No Yes Yes No no
Lipton Sidekicks No No Yes – but only prepared per their instructions No not right flavor
Arctic Gardens No No Yes No no
Equality Small Peas Not Checked Not Checked Yes No Not Checked
South Street Burgers Not Checked No No No Not Checked
New York Fries Not Checked Yes Yes Yes — though had to edit as was showing 0 calories (I wish!) Not Checked
Kraft Dinner Not Checked No! Not extra creamy Not extra creamy Not Checked
Nature’s Path Oathmeal Not Checked Yes Yes Not right flavor Not Checked
Tim Hortons Not Checked yes, except the honey cruller yes some, but not chili or cruller Not Checked
Generic Items in Database
Lemon Cake Many options, grouped together Virtually no options Many options Many options No
Cheddar Cheese Many options but it wasn’t clear which was which A few options Many options Many options, not clear which was which Yes
Honeydew Melon Yes Yes Many options, but not sure why Yes Yes
Milk Not Checked Many varieties, moderately hard to pick which to use Many varieties, moderately hard to pick which to use Many varieties, most just called ‘milk’ Not Checked
Brown Sugar Not Checked yes yes yes, but it was hard to find amidst all the returned results for brown sugar pastries and oatmeal and such Not Checked
Other Notes
General Keeps logging me out every few hours, which is tremendously annoying. The nutrition ‘grade’ option on each food, as well as your daily log might be either very illuminating or very annoying.
Offers an off-site weightloss ticker, as an image, so suitable for wordpress blogs
Offers an off-site weightloss ticker (no graph), but it’s a javascript call, not an image Has a nice, off-site weightloss graph, but it’s a javascript call, not an image. Has one of the prettiest nutrition summary pages of the bunch.

Really, really wants to send you lots and lots of email.

Calories Burned in Curves 378 628 628 302, I think? On another day it shows 119 for same workout. Very confusing. 204
Cost for Extras Online is entirely free. Offline software is $20. Entirely free $45 (intro offer, $60 normally) per year, adds more nutrition track, and no loss of data, plus a progress badge I could post on this blog. $60 per year Entirely free
In Conclusion
Technical frustrations abounded with using FitDay, and that coupled with a small database made it a no-go for me. CCP is doing a lot of things right — especially the recipe analyzer. A not very huge database of foods, and a not very interesting public profile made this not my choice, but if you didn’t want to share your information with others, it might be a good choice for you.

I am using their weight tracker to power the weight ticker on this site.

The excellent database of foods, along with the generally good interface for most functions, and the reasonably readable daily charts made this my winner. I don’t think there’s anything other than the database that DailyPlate is the best at, but it ranks as better than average at most things. While the private interface on this is excellent — I really like the summary of how you’re doing on your RDAs — the public interface is almost  useless with it’s twitter / facebook status update style. Lack of items in the databse, plus frustratingly click and pop-up window heavy interface made this a no-go.

3 Comments »

  1. I’m going to sound like a CC-Plus salesperson here, but here are some things that may help out with CC-Plus:

    Public Profile – If you have set up an account you can create a profile and add weight loss, or daily eat-meter tickers. It also has the weight-graph with handy trend line and activity meter.

    Frequently Used Items – So long as you have a profile set up, then when you add items to your daily log you can “tag”, you can “tag” items, recipes, forums, posts, and activities. That way when you next come back you can simply go to your tagged items (one click) and select the item you are looking for (two clicks). The Tagged items default to food. You can also assign your own categories for your food tags, like drinks, ice-cream, bread, pasta or whatever you want. Basically you decide which items will be in your Frequently used category.

    Portion Adjustments – Once you have tagged an item from the data base (unfortunately this doesn’t work with items you manually enter) you can adjust the portion size based on weight in either grams or oz. Many items give a serving size and you can select 1,2, or 3 servings.

    Calories Burned – One of the good and bad things about CC is how integrated their platform is. If you have a profile you may want to check your Burn Rate, read Activity Level. I think it automatically sets you at a Moderate activity level. The general suggestion by most people on there is regardless of activity level set it to Sedentary and then your burn rates will be measured as if you did not already have a high resting heart rate.

    Favourite Feature – The feature I like best about it is the Recipe Tool. This tool lets me type in a recipe I’m making (i.e. 2 cups ______, 3 Tbsp _______ etc… etc…) and it then calculates the calories in a dish I’m making. In addition I can then tag it and every time I make it I don’t have to ever go into the details again.

    Uuhhhh Sales pitch over.

    No, I do not work for CC-Plus.

    Comment by beaglesmuggler — 2008-09-06 @ 10:56 am

  2. Where’s the public profile stuff? I looked for a way to set up a profile, but I couldn’t find it.

    Also, is there a way to suggest edits to the pre-established food items? I had difficulty finding my breakfast this morning because they don’t list Source Yogurt as yogurt. Which has got me to thinking that perhaps it is only yogurt-like, since it doesn’t mention yogurt anywhere on the individual cups I’m eating, either. But that’s still how people are likely to search for it.

    Comment by Easy — 2008-09-06 @ 12:57 pm

  3. Ah, found it, though not sure how I add other things to it.

    Comment by Easy — 2008-09-06 @ 1:01 pm


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