I Want To Know How Many Calories I Ate Today


One of the things I ask patients I counsel for weight loss is to make an effort to estimate the number of calories they eat in a day. While there are numerous apps and sites that provide food calories calculators, almost all require enrollment in a particular weight loss program. I wanted to offer them and you a simple, anonymous way to calculate calories eaten today, so here you are.

Food Calories & Nutrients Calculator

Please search the foods you ate today, one at a time, using the form below. As you type, a dropdown list will show. Please select from the dropdown the option that best matches the food you ate. You will then be able to select the quantity and the meal time when the food was eaten.

Important: Avoid refreshing the page, as it will delete all previous food selections.

Want More? Try my latest food analysis tools:

  • What's in food - a comprehensive food composition analysis script
  • Top ten foods highest in any nutrient - the most user-friendly, fastest and simplest way to find the top 10 (or 100, or whatever number you want) foods richest in any of the dozens of known nutrients.


  • Brief version: Use your intuition and avoid page refresh :-)
  • Full version:
    • Please type one or more keywords describing the food item you are searching for in the field above.
    • Shortly after you start typing, food selections will appear in a drop-down menu.
    • Select the food item you want.
    • A list of serving size options (in a radio button form element format) will be presented for you to select the one closest to the amount you ate. You will note that once you check a radio button, to units become editable, allowing for even more accurate food amount and, thus, caloric intake approximation.
    • Select the meal you ate the food at.
    • Press "Add Food to Menu" button and your food item will be added to the menu table below the form.
    • To enter another food, repeat the process, without refreshing the page.
Food calorie counting is a great skill for weight loss. <br/>Image by <a href='http://www.jt-book.com/

Food calorie counting is a great skill for weight loss.
Image by Julien Tromeur. Used with author's permission.


  • You will be able to delete an erroneous entry by clicking on the delete next to each food item.
  • Remember, refreshing the page will delete all food entries.
  • While the script totals calories eaten at each meal and for the whole day, it does not total macronutrient intake yet. If this feature is requested by enough users, I will make it possible in the future. Just let me know in the Comments section below.

How Is This Calorie Counter Different/Unique?

There are many calorie counter tools on the web today. Mine is unique, and I think better, in several ways:

  • You won't be required to register for an account to use it. Most other calorie counters that allow you to find out how many calories were in the foods you ate in a day or at a meal are available only in the members area of specialized sites. I decided to make things simple and allow direct access to this tool without any barriers.
  • It does not require multiple page navigation as you search or input your food items, serving sizes, amounts, etc. By making use of modern programming languages such as PHP, JavaScript/Jquery/Ajax, as well as using MySQL as a database, the form above allows you to search for foods, select them, choose serving sizes and save your selections into a meal based format, ALL on one page, without page refreshes or reloads. This saves you time and makes the whole experience easier. At the time of writing this, I was not able to find anything similar, with no registration required, on the web.
  • While I designed this tool with counting calories as the primary purpose, it provides additional nutritional facts. For each selected food, you will be presented with its fat, protein, carbohydrate and sugar content. This information is very useful for those using this tool for weight loss, but it can be equally useful for those interested to see what the macronutrient composition of a certain food is.

My Challenge To Google

While researching the web for similar tools, I realized there is nothing similar out there. As I said above, there are numerous tools for figuring out the caloric content of individual foods, but when it comes to analyzing a whole day's caloric intake, one would have to register into a weight loss program or something similar to be able to access anything of this caliber. (Not a big deal if that is what your want to do, but be prepared to get regular emails from them once you register.) There is one possible exception - the Interactive Menu Planner from the Department of Health and Human Services. The idea is somewhat similar to my Food Calories Calculator, but the options are a lot less customizable. My counter uses USDA's food database, with close to 8,000 different foods to select from.

Anyway, after putting this calorie counter together, I started wondering if it had a chance to get on the first page of Google results for "the food calories calculator", which is the name I chose for it. And how long it would take for that to happen. In theory, I think it's possible. As I said above, there aren't many other tools offering this service under free-access, anonymous conditions. In other words, it is unique and I think highly valuable content. But something is telling me Google won't do that, at least not until I get a ton of outside links to this page. By the way, if you have a site/blog and liked this page, I'd appreciate a link back with "the food calories calculator" as anchor text.

So my challenge to Google is simple: can Google recognize a quality, unique service and place it at the top of it's listings in a timely fashion? Or will it dump it somewhere on the nth page of results, where only the bravest of the brave surfers look? I am going to place updates here from time to time for the curious of you.

What Are Calories?

OK, I admit this question may sound unnecessary to a lot of you, but I am a physician and nutritionist, and I see people almost every day who are confused about this. In addition, many people are confused about the distinction between calories and kcalories. Are they the same? How about joules?

First off, the term calorie was coined in the early 1800s by a French physicist and chemist, Nicolas Clément. His definition of the Calorie was intended to be as a unit of energy, more precisely a calories was the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree C. This was well before the introduction of the International System of Units (SI) in 1960. It was the only energy unit in English dictionaries available to W.O. Atwater in 1887 for his popular articles on food and tables of food composition, and this is when the word "calorie" started making its way into the English lexicon.

Things got a bit more complicated down the road, around 1850, when two other chemists, Favre and Silbermann, defined and used the calorie as a heat unit based on a mass of 1 gram, instead of 1 kilogram, as previously defined by Clément. This is where the confusion between calorie (or g-calorie) and Calorie (or Kcalorie) originates.

During the 20th century, efforts were made to standardize energy units, and in the scientific circles joules started to be used instead of calories. While to this day the calorie is not recognized in scientific circles as a standard SI unit, it is still widely used in common speech and public nutrition education.

Thus, in common usage, the calorie is equivalent to the kcalorie. I know it makes no sense, but think about it as being the original definition given by Clément. For a more in-depth discussion of the history of "calorie", this article is excellent.

Where Can I Find How Many Calories I Need In A Day?

Good question. After all, finding out how many calories you ate in a day is not very informative if you cannot compare it with what your body actually needs. And, for those of you using this tool for weight loss purposes, determining your real daily caloric needs is of paramount importance.

In the interest of keeping this tool simple, I opted for not including a calculator of how many calories you need in a day here. But don't despair - you can pay a short visit to my Basal Metabolic Rate & Daily Energy Requirements Calculator where you will find exactly how many calories you need to eat in a day, depending on your individual characteristics and level of physical activity. You can then return here and use this calorie counter with a lot more fun.