Sunday, August 26, 2012

CRON-O-Meter: Free Diet Analysis Software

It's been years since I tried this software:

It wasn't online back then. You had to download the software and run it on your computer. It was always a decent program but I just re-tried it this morning and can report that it's much improved, very intuitive interface. It looks like they're keeping it free by placing ads.

In my experience:
  • No diet analysis program is accurate. It's just a gage. Not every 3 inch apple has 8 mg vitamin C.
  • Not every person digests, absorbs, and metabolizes nutrients in the same way, to the same degree.
  • Nutrient absorption depends on other foods eaten.

It's still worth trying one of these programs at least once. They give you an idea of what foods contain what nutrients. And how a diet you're eating stacks up to a standard - like the DRI's.

Many diet analysis programs, including this one, use the extensive and reliable USDA food database. When I was an undergrad, we had to look up nutrients in tables, giant books of tables that didn't differentiate between say, an apple with skin and without. It was a herculean feat to do an analysis of someone's diet. Good software back then cost about $600-$1000 and was always buggy.1 And it was based on the same USDA values as these free programs. How things have changed.
1 I used a product of this caliber called Nutritionist IV from First Data Bank. Every time something went wrong with my computer and I had to reload the operating system or if I swapped a hard drive, I had to call the company and request a code to access my own software. Of course, since it resided on your pc there weren't any automatic food/nutrient updates. You had to pay a few $100 every year for updates - on floppy discs.


Reijo Laatikainen said...

Thanks fro sharing, looks good!

Claudia said...

Floppy discs! Do they make them anymore?

We bought a laptop years ago that cost like over $2000 dollars. The same thing would cost under $10 today!