A food calorie counter works by logging the number of calories in servings of different foods, thereby helping you calculate your overall calorie intake over a period of time. Free online calorie counters are available on WebMD.com and FitWatch.com.
To use a calorie counter such as the one offered by WebMD, select a food from the database to display its serving size and calorie content. For example, a 1-cup serving of brown rice contains 218 calories. Select a food and the amount eaten to find out how many calories you have consumed. Multiple foods may be selected to create a meal summary, showing the combined caloric value of all foods consumed in a day or a sitting. For example, a meal containing one serving each of brown rice and black beans contains a total of 331 calories.
To use a calorie counter to aid in weight loss, first determine your ideal daily calorie intake. An average person requires between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day to maintain her weight, depending on age, gender, height and activity level. Once you determine how many calories are needed to maintain your current weight, use a calorie counter to ensure that your daily intake stays below that figure, thereby causing weight loss.