Reviews: Newspaper

Wall Street Journal

Forget the Scale: Best Diet Gadget May Be Your Computer

By Tara Parker-Pope
Many people use a computer to keep track of their financial health. But few people realize they can also use it to track their nutritional health.

Nutrition-tracking software offers a surprising look into the quality of your diet, helping to identify vitamin deficits or poor eating patterns you may not know you have. Computer-based diet trackers take the guesswork out of counting calories. They create useful charts and graphs that help you monitor habits and set realistic weight-loss goals. And most include recipe builders that help turn decadent recipes into healthful foods….

The downside to online diet trackers is that just like losing weight, using them requires commitment and patience…Sticking with it, though, can produce dramatic results. Numerous studies show people who keep daily food records are far more successful at weight loss than people who don't keep track of what they eat….

A relatively easy to use tracker is DietPower, which has won praise from reviewers at the American Dietetic Association. The $50 program also comes with a free trial…You start by telling it your height, weight and goals and it will respond with a calorie budget and information on whether your goal is realistic. Unlike other programs, DietPower will automatically adjust its recommendations depending on your rate of weight of loss. So if you aren't losing weight at the expected rate on a 1700-calorie diet, for instance, DietPower will lower your daily calorie budget.

All diet trackers get better with time. The more daily eating and exercise information you input, the more useful and simple the planners become. And even if you stop using it, the information you glean from even a short time of use will help you make lasting improvements to your eating habits.
(January 23, 2006)

Washington Post

It All Counts

By Sally Squires, of the Post's "Lean Plate Club"
Are smart food choices alone enough to achieve a healthy weight? During a recent Web chat, that was the question on the mind of a Lean Plate Club member.

The short answer: No. Balancing calories in and calories out is also important, as is keeping track of those numbers.

It's true that much research suggests that a well-balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fiber, healthy fat and lean sources of meat, poultry and fish can increase your chance of reaching a healthy weight. But studies suggest that finding the balance between daily intake and physical activity is key.

For example, the National Weight Control Registry has found that successful losers (those who have lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for three years or longer) not only tracked what they ate while shedding pounds, but also continue to monitor their intake long-term.

Free and low-cost tools are available to help you keep track of what you eat and burn off. Here's a sampling:

Calories Per Hour (

Developed by a frustrated consumer who could not find information about calories burned during exercise, this Web site has blossomed to offer extensive information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Among other features, this site (which is peppered with good humor) will calculate body mass index and weight loss. Plus, it can help you figure out how many calories you burned carrying groceries, walking the dog, or doing those exercises for your back. Cost: Free.

DietPower (

This program, first developed in 1988, boasts 11,000 foods crafted into 21,000 different entries for easy access. Available by downloading from the Web or on a CD, it can calculate calories in home recipes and adjust daily calorie intake recommendations based on entries of food and activity. A travel disk allows the program to be used on home and office computers. Cost: Free for a 15-day free trial, $39.99 to purchase after trial.

Pencil Power

Yep, it's very low-tech, but jotting down foods as you eat them is a simple way to keep tabs on intake. Some Lean Plate Club members report using yellow "stickies" to record food eaten during the day, tabulating totals at night. Others carry a notebook and some have reported great success by writing food in their daily planner or desk calendar. To precisely calculate calories, you'll need to read food labels carefully and consult a calorie counter (available at bookstores). Or use the free online USDA database at Cost: Free.
(September 16, 2003)

Philadelphia Inquirer

Nutrition Manager Inspires Wonder

By Tara Parker-Pope
Maybe your tech gizmos are light enough already, but perhaps you are not.

In that case, you may want to turn to DietPower, a novel diet management program.

By tracking and calculating, on a daily basis, the amount of calories you take in and the amount of calories you burn, it keeps tightly focused on your effort to shed weight.

You start DietPower by telling it your height and weight. You also disclose if you smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or have high blood pressure.

Once you have entered your target weight and the date by which you want to be svelte again, DietPower calculates what your daily calorie budget should be.

Metabolism, we all know, plays a role in determining weight.

Thus, as you enter your daily total—on Boy Scout/Girl Scout honor—of food intake and exercise done, DietPower changes your allotted caloric intake to take your body's energy burn rate into consideration.

To make sure that you are getting the right amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, DietPower helps you track whether your diet is giving you a full measure of those critical substances.

It is loaded for recipes and can help you adapt them to your tastes. It's easy to set up, easy to use.

DietPower is available for individuals as well as health clubs, companies running wellness programs, and other health promoters.

DietPower is for Windows 98 or later. For details, visit, where you can purchase the program or download a free 15-day trial.
(October 15, 1998)

Wall Street Journal

Get With the Program

Health-related software can turn your PC into a nutrition counselor, personal trainer, and more.
By Will Morton
Meet your new health adviser: your computer.

Whether you're out to improve your training, lower your cholesterol, or organize your medical records, health-related software programs are plentiful. Any search engine can turn up dozens of them for you in a flash, ranging from the simple and inexpensive to the elaborate and higher-priced.


To count calories in home cooking, a software program from DietPower, Inc., Danbury, Conn., is useful. The $39.99 program tracks how much you exercise and tells how much you should eat. Enter the ingredients and quantities in a recipe and it also calculates the number of calories per serving, along with amounts of sodium, carbohydrates, and fat. Calories for 11,000 ingredients are listed.

Greg Papazian of Winchester, Mass., used DietPower to see how healthy his four-bean turkey chili was. Not that healthy, it turns out. The program told him his chili was giving him a huge dose of sodium, so he adjusted the recipe. "It's a great feature," says the 40-year-old partner in a private equity firm.

Brian Dawson says he was ballooning past 200 pounds when he started medical school. He figured that by the time he was telling patients to exercise and eat right, he would be so big they would tell him, "You first." So he began using DietPower to track his food and exercise, and says he shaved off 40 pounds. "I'm skinny now," says the second-year medical-school student at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

The 6-foot 23-year-old is still using the program and says he likes the way it stores his entries, saving him time when he's eating or drinking something that's a regular part of his diet. He makes his own smoothies after his regular run, for instance, so if he just enters "smoothie," DietPower remembers the recipe, along with the amounts and calories he's consuming.
(October 21, 2003)

Schaumberg (Ill.) Daily Herald

Computer Program Helps Diet Efforts

By Don Maurer
Can your computer help you lose weight and virtually guarantee that you'll meet your goal by a specific date? It can if you're running a new program called DietPower.

Terry Dunkle, president of DietPower, Inc., sent me a complimentary copy of his new computer program to see if I believed it could help folks lose weight.

The idea behind the program is that if we can see how every morsel we eat and every minute we spend exercising will affect our progress, we will make healthier choices.

First thing I did was install the program on my computer. After I started it up, the program asked several basic questions: my first and last name; whether I wanted a password (to keep personal information from other users, like a spouse or kids); my height, my waist and wrist measurements (optional); whether I smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, have high blood pressure or am on a sodium-restricted food plan; and, if I am a woman, whether I'm pregnant or lactating.

Then a Food for Thought box appeared, offering me a bit of advice or inspiration. (I later learned this screen pops up every time the program starts.) When I clicked OK, the program asked me my weight.

After I typed in my weight, the next screen asked what goal weight I want to reach and when I would I like to reach it. After confirming my answers, an Introduction window appeared to explain the buttons on the screen and how the program works. Reading this takes about seven minutes.

One of the things explained is how the program can virtually guarantee weight loss. It does this by using a new technology that "learns" my body's metabolic rate and continuously adjusts my caloric budget to match.

The help system built into the program seemed intuitive and unambiguously answered every question I asked.

Several people can use DietPower simultaneously and the system will track them separately.

However, the program is limited to folks 14 years old and older who weigh between 75 and 499 pounds and who are between 4 feet and 7 feet tall.

This is how it works: Every day I enter my weight for that day, all the foods that I eat, and how much, if any, exercise I get. The program then tells me if I am on target. At the end of the day, if I have calories left over, it puts them in a special account that I can use later if I want to splurge. Pretty easy.

The program includes a Food Dictionary that lets me look up the nutrient profiles of the 16,000 entries in its food list. [ Editor's note: Today the program's Food Dictionary includes 21,000 entries.] To add foods not on the list, you simply input product information from the food label.

Foods also may be combined into recipes and folded into the dictionary, making it possible to enter the meals I make directly into my food log.

The Exercise Dictionary lists more than 200 types of exercise and their calorie burn rates to make it easy to fill out the Exercise Log. [ Editor's note: Today the program covers nearly 1000 forms of exercise.]

Another feature of DietPower is its ability to plot weight history and nutrient history on a graph for easy review.

All I need to make this work is an accurate bathroom scale, measuring cups and spoons, and a food scale.

In the short time I used DietPower, I became confident of my ability to balance my calorie intake against my activity levels. In a way, it was like having my own personal trainer. I like the idea of maintaining my current menu, yet controlling the volume of those meals against my exercise regime to achieve weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance.

How do you get DietPower? Go to, where you can download a 15-day free trial copy or purchase the program for $39.99.
(November 18, 1998)

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