Using online food diaries (Cronometer/Paleotrack, etc): Cooked versus uncooked?

Commented on April 08, 2015
Created March 30, 2015 at 11:07 AM

I have started using Cronometer (an online food log tool) to keep track of my nutirents intake. I am particularly watchful of my intake of carbs as well as my Omega 3 ratio and, of course, all kinds of micro nutrients. So far, so good. But I have noticed an odd thing though. Cronometer uses an USDA database, which should ensure some reliability. But, they often don??t have the food in the form I make it in, so I just add the raw ingredient and its weight (I use a scale for the latter). How much error does this come with, in your opinion? I often find Cronometer to add my calories up to 3 or 4 or even 5 thousand kcal, which I find kind of over the top and improbable (I have no weight problem). I think this might be due to some double counting, like when I add "fried eggs" it might already contain the fat I add? But I still add, for example, "2 tablespoons of coconut oil". So, so far, I usually take the results with a grain of salt and hopie that at least the ratios are somewhat accurate and reliable (my micro nutrients will not be though for sure, since there is a BIG difference in that respect between for example raw cabbage and cooked cabbage). The same thing about my coconut oil intake: I use it to cook with. Does it evaporate? In that case, am I getting less fat into me than I am currently calculating???

I think you can get at my general problem with using Cronometer above. What are your best tips to improve the reliability of Cronometer and other food log tools? I fear that the only thing that I can do to truly remedy the problems is to program each and every food that I enter myself? Is it worth it? How much more accurate could I get the results if I do? A lot or a little? (i.e. is it worth to bother about it?)


on April 03, 2015
at 08:03 AM

Try MyNetDiary.

You can add in  one food at a time. They are pretty accurate with their database. However, never use a food that says (contributed) since you cannot trust the source. 

I cook all my own food and have not eaten packaged or processed foods for almost 30 years. So I never have the problem of figuring out combo foods. 

For your bacon and eggs scenario you can create your own recipes and then it will keep track of it, and it will also keep track of what you ate the previous day and you can click on SAME and it will populate the tracker.

They have also accommodated for 'cooked' vs. 'raw' with several variations in their database for cooked (dry, boiled, etc)

It's one of the best food trackers I've seen. I'm a diet coach and I have all my clients start on this. They find it super easy

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3 Answers


on April 01, 2015
at 12:37 AM

If you are concerned about your intake of carbs and how it affects your body, I would suggest using blood gluocose meter to see the effect of a meal after 2 hours. Each person reacts differently to carbs and plus if you are an athlete you would need more carbs. I find cronometer is good to see if you are lacking nutrients but I consider it a rough estimate (to be more scientific all the values should have a statistical precision level). Not all carbs, fats, and proteins are the same and are metabolized differently. Calories given to carbs, fats, and proteins are very rough estimates. Plus, individuals may not metabolized their food properly. I read over age 50, it is difficult to metabolize B12 and it is better to get it through a vitamin. Cooking changes the nutrient content of food and some food become more nutritious (canned blueberries and cooked tomatoes). Some people are able to metabolize carbs better and others have a longer colon. It is very difficult to speak in general terms since each person is different. As far as myself, I get a blood test every 3 months rather than being obsessed with food. I believe more concern should be on stress, sleep, and sedentary lifestyle.

Medium avatar

on April 08, 2015
at 02:11 PM

Actually, it is my carbs and any insulin spikes that I worry about the most, so I have made sure to order a glucose meter now for that purpose. 



on March 31, 2015
at 12:28 AM

It can not be done really precisely. The calories you assume depend at the 10% level on your gut flora, which produces (or does not produce) short chain fatty acids. Even if you knew your gut, there is a big difference in eating a just baked potato, and the same potato, cold. That would be, surely, another 5% or so typical error.

The B vitamins you intake are very little, compared to what a good flora can produce for you. Same for K1, and same also for most minerals. Vitamin A absorption, if from carotenoids, varies so much from individual to individual that there is easily a 100% error (conversion factors anywhere from 3 to 30%). Finally, there is a huge difference between getting proteins from a steak, ending the meal with some pineapple, and proteins from some vegetable sources, as the absorption (protein quality, and protease activity) will vary dramatically.

Medium avatar

on March 31, 2015
at 09:20 AM

Yes, very true. I do acknowledge these circumstances. I was though trying to minimize the error in the other end. What happens once I ingest my food is a whole other topic for dicussion and comes, as you correctly point out, with a whole another set of problems. :)


on March 30, 2015
at 04:55 PM

Get a fucking life retard.

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