According to the well-known and conventional method we need to know the caloric value of each and every component our dish or meal. For example: a Breakfast that contains a glass of orange juice, a small bagel, spread with cream cheese shall be calculated as : orange juice 90 kcal + bagel 192 kcal +cream cheese 98 kcal=total 380 kcal.

This method as we know is very complicated, especially for the average patient. We need to calculate a dish that its ingredients are not straightforward such as: Cob salad or Shepherd’s pie, Even a slice of pizza, it is very difficult to estimate: the percentage of fat, carbohydrate or protein a piece of pie contains let alone the caloric volume.

Hence “The categories method” suggests a single categorical estimation per meal, based on a set of five categories:

Category 1 less than 200 kcal

Category 2 201-500

Category 3 501-800

Category 4 801-1200

Category 5 above 1200 kcal

Each category represents the patients’ assumption, based on his common knowledge of a meal caloric value: to calculate a daily caloric consumption we use the average value of the category (e.g., category 3: 500-800 Avg = 650 kcal).

This method simplifies the process of counting calories, especially with assembled or cooked meal, it makes it easier to track any given meal even to those how are not so familiar with the caloric value of a product.

On a preliminary study we found that the error of the mean is only up to 10% between the reported category and the detailed description of a meal caloric value.

Furthermore I developed an iPhone application based on this concept called “CountEat.Calories” which enable users track their caloric count using a portable device.

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