Sunday, June 08, 2008

Diet Analysis Software

Three sources for analyzing nutrients in foods that are free and good (the software, not the foods):

USDA Nutrient Database
Online or offline.

  • Free, sort of ... Our taxes pay for this. It's one government service worth tapping. It's the foundation (in terms of foods listed and their breakdown) for most other food databases in this country - both free and for a price.
  • Does not analyze individual diets, only individual foods.
  • Stark. No charts, graphs, or judgments about consumption. (Some may consider these aspects a plus.)


  • Free. (Owned by Condé Nast.)
  • Analyzes individual diets, in addition to individual foods.
  • Uses the USDA database, plus a few more inputs from restaurants and food manufacturers.
  • Lots of charts and graphs.
  • Lots of additional tools, calculators, and widgets.
  • Lots of additional commentary on nutrition - recipes, articles, a blog.
  • Promotes "healthy" eating. (Some may consider this a drawback.)
  • All the additional bells and whistles make this a busy and not altogether user-friendly site.

Offline. Program must be downloaded.

  • Free. Open source. Created by a small team in their spare time.
  • Analyzes individual diets, in addition to individual foods.
  • Can track multiple users.
  • Of the 3, I think this is the easiest to use. Very intuitive.
  • Uses the USDA database, but adds a better interface.
  • Not accessible when away from your computer.
  • Uses a nice chunk of computer memory to run.
If you've used any of these, or others, feel free to comment about them.

Update: A few more...
My Pyramid Tracker, Online (free)FitDay, Online (free) and Offline ($29.95)
  • Free version has limited analysis.

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