Calorie Counter and Nutrition Logging - Instructions and Features

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This article gives instruction on using all the nutrition log features to count your daily calories from foods eaten.

We're not totally done with the nutrition logs yet and will continually be improving them, but these instructions will show you how to use the free and extra nutrition log features that allows you to count calories.  This is a very powerful feature to track calories as it uses a database of >7,000 foods.  Here are some features we will be discussing:

  1. Presets

  2. General Logging - all users

    1. Where to access?

    2. Entering Meal-time

    3. Entering/Editing a Meal

    4. Search/Select Foods

    5. Food Labels

    6. Serving Size Selection

    7. 'Save as meal' option

    8. Custom Foods

    9. Viewing the Nutrition Blog

    10. Custom Reports

    11. Reports and Graphs

  3. Extra Features for Bronze+

    1. Advanced Reports

    2. Custom graphs of any nutrient


1 Presets

Many users will have a publicly viewed training log, but some of those may want their nutrition 'details' private.  To only privatize your nutritional details, go to your log control panel and select 'Nutrition Log is Private?'




Note: your total daily calories will still be seen in BT Blogger and your training log if public. Users will not have access to your detailed breakdowns and reports.



2 General nutrition logging for calorie counting

All members will be able to have access to the following items.



2.1 Where to access?

Members will access the nutrition logging screen by clicking on the 'Nutrition' link in their regular training log:




2.2  Entering Meal-Time

The first thing to do is select the meal-time of the foods you will be logging during a time period.  Once the time is chosen, click on 'Add meal'



2.3 Entering/Editing a Meal

After selecting a meal-time (Note, you can select many meal-times at once before entering the foods you ate) you will see:



Click on 'Edit meal' of the time you want to edit.  You will now see:






2.4 Search/Select a Food

You can search by general category or by specific foods.  In searching by specific foods, try singular and plural versions of the word and synonyms (Pop ---> Soda) for different/better results.  You can also search by brand-name (Kelloggs, Pizza Hut, McDonald, etc)



Using 'Milk' as an example:




Pressing 'Search' you will see a screen similar to this:



2.5 Food Labels

If you click on the link, you can see the food-label of that food in a new window before you add it to your log:



Switching the 'Qty' and serving size at the top will update the food label.  Note, clicking on 'update' will only update the label, not your log.


When viewing an individual food label, you will see a link at the bottom, 'View Advanced Details'.  Clicking on that link will show you a more complete nutritional composition for that food. 


*Note - Many foods will not have 'complete' breakdowns of all nutrients.  Any nutrient having an 'N/A' is treated as a 'zero' for summed report calculations.  Example:  Vitamin D is only reported for 477 foods in the database.  If you want to track Vitamin D in your reports or graphs, it may not be entirely accurate depending on the food you log that include or does not include a value for that nutrient. 


Therefore, if a nutrient is particularly important to you, be sure to check to see if it's reported in the foods you log by clicking on the 'View Advanced Details' link in the nutrition label.


Clicking on the 'Add' button will add the food to your log:



2.6 Serving size selection

You can now change the units or serving size you consumed:







Repeat the above procedures (2.2-2.6) to add foods eaten to your log.


2.7 'Save-as' meal option

In your food logging screen, you will see the 'Save as custom meal' button:



With this feature, you can save all foods with the servings you entered for that time as ONE meal.  This makes things a lot easier if you routinely eat the same foods at the same time frequently. 


Example: Every morning I make an espresso and add the same amount of beans, water, sugar and unsweetened cocoa.  Initially you have to log all the foods separately from the database for a certain time.  Clicking on 'Save as custom food' will now add everything together under a serving size of '1 custom food' and give it a name.  If you happen to eat more of this custom food, just change the quantity when logging.



Clicking on this button will allow you to name the meal and it will then be available in your food selection screen in the 'custom food' dropdown next time you log.



2.8 Custom foods.

You can also create a custom food from scratch.  This is useful if a food you use is not listed in the database. To do this, go to any page within the nutrition logging screen.  You will see the following box in the bottom right:




Clicking on that brings you to this screen:



You can then re-edit a previous 'Save as meal' or create/edit a new custom meal/food.



By filling in the description and clicking 'go', or just hitting the link to a previous custom meal will take you to a screen where you can edit or re-edit the nutrition of that meal.  Enter only what you need or know.  All of it is not required.  Then click 'Update food' and it is saved and, if a new food, will now be available in your custom food dropdown.



*Note: When entering a custom food, you will have to know what serving size corresponds to '1 custom food'.  If you make your own custom nutrition drink from various nutrition powders and you are creating a custom food for it by adding up all the nutrients on the ingrediants labels and entering it into a custom food, just know that the amount you enter in for each nutrient corresponds to a certain serving size specific to you.  When logging this food from your custom food dropdown, you will have to change the 'quantity' accordingly.



2.9 Viewing the Nutrition Blog

A complete food log breakdown of meals logged with time and daily totals is available at:



Selecting the Nutrition link will take you to your nutrition blog-view:  (Note, Fats, Carbs and Protein are in the units of 'grams')



Even in this screen, you can click on the food link to see the nutrition label of it.


2.10 Custom Reports

Besides the general 'Carbs, Proteins and Fats' information available in the week, month and year reports, you can toggle via your training settings screen,  many more nutrients to follow in your week, month and year reports. 



2.11 Reports and graphs

You will see a 'nutrition' link in all calendar, week, month and year hover dropdowns.  This link will take you to all nutrition reports and graphs.



Calendar - Total calories and fat, carbs and protein breakdown per day plus weekly, monthly totals.



Week, Month and Year - Total grams and grams of fat, carbs and protein breakdown per day, week, month or year.


Graphs - Access to a 'stacker' graph of caloric breakdown.





3 Extra Features for Bronze+ Members.


3.1 Advanced Reports

You will note in your 'week, month and year' reports, the dates in the left column are linked.  Clicking on that link will take you to an 'Advanced Report' screen detailing the totals of ALL the various nutrients during the time period of the link be it daily, a weekly or monthly total. 


*Note, any individual food that has a 'N/A' value in the advanced food label will automatically get a 'zero' for a value in the calculations of all reports.



3.2 Additional and custom nutrient graphs.

In the nutrition graphs section, you will have access to an additional pie graph of the % carbs, proteins and fats you have ingested over any time period.



You can also select a third graph to display a custom nutrient (caffeine, water, vitamin A, etc.)




About the database 
The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) is the major source of food composition data in the United States. It provides the foundation for most food composition databases in the public and private sectors. As information is updated, new versions of the database are released. This version, Release 18 (SR18), contains data on 7,146 food items and up to 136 food components.


Food GroupNumber of Items
01Dairy and Egg Products216
02Spices and Herbs58
03Baby Foods293
04Fats and Oils236
05Poultry Products346
06Soups, Sauces, and Gravies394
07Sausages and Luncheon Meats232
08Breakfast Cereals403
09Fruits and Fruit Juices306
10Pork Products222
11Vegetable and Vegetable Products788
12Nut and Seed Products128
13Beef Products782
15Finfish and Shellfish Products255
16Legumes and Legume Products233
17Lamb, Veal, and Game Products343
18Baked Products523
20Cereal Grains and Pasta169
21Fast Foods285
22Meals, Entrees, and Sidedishes138
35Ethnic Foods89

Cautions on calorie counting data interpretation

The database we are using has the 7,146 foods. All foods will have the determined values of water, calories, protein, fat and carbohydrate.  NOT ALL of them have complete nutrient profiles. ‘N/A’ is seen in the 'advanced reports' when this value is not reported.  Examples are 'Vitamin D' - only 477 foods have this value reported.


For BT logs in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly summed reports, ‘N/A’ is treated as a ‘0’ so everything most likely will not add-up perfectly (example, individual amino acids adding up to the amount of protein….some foods lack the amino acid compositional breakdown.)


THIS NUTRITION SOFTWARE IS STILL BETA! Always exercise caution in any interpretation. There may still be bugs in this software. PLEASE check our math in the totals and reports/graphs for main nutrient items that have values associated with them.


Regardless of good math, several things simply WILL NOT add up, details at the end. Also these foods will not ‘exactly’ match what’s on a real nutrition label due to rounding, lots, manufacturer, year, etc. But they are reasonably close based on the foods we tested from our fridges and pantry. You will also note that these numbers will not exactly line-up with other nutrition databases due to different database version, sources, and the aforementioned issues.

Carbohydrate calculation assumptions
Because the analysis of total dietary fiber, total sugars, and starch are performed separately, the sum of these carbohydrate fractions may not add up to the main carbohydrate-by-difference value.

Fat calculations assumptions
Values for total saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids may include individual fatty acids not reported; therefore, the sum of their values may exceed the sum of the individual fatty acids. In rare cases, the sum of the individual fatty acids may exceed the sum of the values given for the total saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). These differences are generally caused by rounding and may be relatively small.

Zero values for individual fatty acids should be understood to mean that trace amounts may be present. When g fatty acids per 100 g of total lipid were converted to g fatty acids per 100 g of food, values of less than 0.0005 were rounded to 0.

Protein calculations and assumptions
The individual amino acids for a food may not add up to the amount of protein in that food. Not all foods will have an amino-acid breakdown.



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date: October 9, 2005