Member Support

Your calorie target and diary view explained



We set you a personal food target. Plus an exercise target to burn 200 kcals a day.

You have a choice of two diary settings. Which one is right for you depends on your goal and lifestyle.

The view the app gives new members sets a daily goal which may start from 1,200 kcals. If you exercise a lot, you can earn extra calories. Because your exercise calories are added onto your food target, this is the Combined Diary.

If you feel 1,200 kcals is too low for you, try the Separate Diary. Your food target starts from 1,400 kcals and your exercise target is 200 kcals. This view tracks your food and exercise separately. 1,400 kcals is low enough to lose weight, even if you don't exercise.

Which diary option is right for you?

If you are active and need extra calories to refuel, the Combined Diary view will suit you. If you do very little exercise, try the Separate Diary view.

To switch, tap the blue menu button to the right of the search bar > Diary Preferences > Daily Totals.

How do I adjust my nutrient targets?

To set your own calorie and nutrient targets, follow these steps:

In the app

  1. Tap the blue menu button to the right of the search bar in your diary.
  2. Select Nutrient Goals > Set My Own Goal. Enter your preferred target, scroll down and tap Apply Changes.

On the website

  1. Sign in and click on the Settings link above your diary > Set a nutrient goal link' > Set My Own goal.
  2. Click on the calorie target to override it with your own figure, press Apply changes.

Note! 1,200 calories is the minimum target allowed.

What information does the Widget show?

The Widget shows the current day's kcal summary. At midnight the figures reset to the following day's diary data, including any foods you have already entered.

How to install a Widget?

  1. On your phone's homescreen, enter wobble mode by long pressing on the screen.
  2. Now tap on the + button at the top to open the Widget gallery.
  3. Scroll down to the Nutracheck Calorie Counter App, choose a Widget and tap Add Widget.
  4. If you have a fitness tracker linked or are using the iPhone Motion Sensor, to enable the Exercise kcals to update automatically please ensure you have set the Apple Health permissions for Nuracheck to On. You can do this in the More section by tapping Apple Health and following the guide.

I don't want to track calories and fat – can I change this?

Yes. Nutracheck tracks calories, fat, sat fat, carbs, sugar, protein, salt and fibre. If you have access to the website or an iPad, you can view all of these at once. However the mobile App can only track calories plus one other nutrient on the main Diary page – but you can switch between the nutrients at any time. Here's what do to:

In the app

Tap the top of the nutrient column (you should see a little downward arrow) and choose the nutrient you would like to track from the drop down menu.

In the iPad app

Turn your iPad to landscape (this will ensure all 7 nutrients show on your screen) and tap on the green menu button, next to the search bar. Now select Diary Preferences > Nutrient Choices. Use the white arrows to select which nutrients you wish to track.

On the website

Go to your Diary and click on the Settings link above your diary. Next select Choose which nutrients to track. You can then select the nutrients you'd like to show. Tip! Drag and drop the nutrients into the order you'd like them to show in your diary.

Can I set my own calorie target?

Yes!

In the app

Tap the blue menu button to the right of the search bar in your diary. Select Nutrient Goals > Set My Own Goal. Enter your preferred target, scroll down and tap Apply Changes.

On the website

Click on the Settings link above your diary > Set a nutrient goal > Set My Own goal. Click on the calorie target to override it with your own figure, press Apply changes.


Note! 1,200 calories is the minimum target allowed.

Is there a Widget to show my macro breakdown?

We currently have two Widgets which keep track of your kcal consumption, however we are open to suggestions for additional Widget functionality.

What should I do if my bar chart turns red for some of the nutrients?

If a bar on your chart turns red, it means you have exceeded the guide amount for that nutrient. If you exceed total calories, we recommend using your Week View to offset the excess over the rest of the week to stay on track. To find this in

In the app

Tap the blue menu button (next to the search bar in your diary) > Diary Week View.

On the website

Go to your Food Diary page and click on the Week View link above your diary.

Will I lose weight on 1,400 calories?

The short answer is yes! Your daily targets are calculated based on the information you input about yourself.

To lose 1lb a week you need to create a calorie deficit of between 500 - 600 calories a day which is best achieved through a combination of eating less and exercising more. This is why you are also set an exercise target to burn 200 calories each day in additional activity. So if for example, your allowance is 1,400 calories, your net daily calorie target is in fact 1,200 calories per day – 1,400 less 200 cals burned in extra exercise.

Exercise has many benefits for our health, but it's great for helping weight loss not only by burning extra calories while you are doing it, but over time it actually changes your body's composition (more muscle/less fat) which has a positive effect on your metabolism.

As you start to lose the fat and build more muscle, your body – even at rest – will start to burn more calories as muscle is an active tissue requiring energy, meaning it burns calories just by being there – unlike fat which doesn't. For maximum benefit, your daily exercise should be activity over and above what you would usually do.

The bottom line is that if you achieve the 500-600 daily calorie reduction compared to what you were eating before, weight loss will happen! When our system set your calorie target, this calculation will have been taken into consideration.

Is my calorie target too high?

Firstly to assure you that the formulas and maths used to generate your calorie target are set to result in weight loss at the rate you selected.

We take your personal details, so your age, weight, height, gender and activity levels and use a recognised formula to calculate how many calories your body needs to perform basic functions each day – your BMR. We then multiply this by a physical activity scaling factor to account for daily movements, to give your overall daily maintenance calories – so how many calories you would need to stay the same weight you are now. Your selected rate of weight loss is then taken into account to provide you with your daily calorie allowance – to lose 1lb per week, you'd need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day and to lose 2lbs per week you need to create a deficit of 1,000 calories per day.

In the case of a tall overweight male for example, the starting point for our calculation is the individual's current maintenance calorie requirement, will be quite high. But the required deficit for weight loss will have been factored into the targets that are set.

Dr Campbell's view is that if an individual has been used to a high calorie intake, the gradual step reduction that our system uses is realistic. The key to success is sticking with the plan long term, and for many individuals, setting a lower target straight off would be quite drastic and increase their chances of failure.

If you are genuinely feeling satisfied on less calories than your allowance and are getting a balanced diet, there is certainly no need to eat for the sake of eating (just don't go below 1,200 calories a day). Learn to 'listen' to your body – if you need to eat up to your limit then do so, if you are not hungry, then stop.

Can I carry over uneaten calories?

The answer is yes, and it's definitely better to 'save' them in advance rather than spending calories with the intention of paying them back, and then it not happening! Use the Week View to keep an eye on how you're doing across the week – as long as your 'under' days off-set the 'over' days you'll still be on track to lose weight. Just ensure your average intake across the week is not falling below 1,200 calories, as this is the absolute minimum we would recommend.

There used to be another Widget when I swiped left from the home screen. Is this still available?

Do I have to eat all of my calorie allowance?

The short answer is no, if you are feeling genuinely satisfied on less calories and getting a balanced diet. Around 1,200 calories per day is fine, but we strongly advise against going below this.

To explain your targets

Around 1,400 cals a day is a sensible and sustainable calorie target if you are trying to lose weight. Trying to stick to a lower target is likely to result in failure as your diet will be much more restrictive and much harder to sustain. The secret of success is to keep going with a reduced calorie intake over a period of time – your goal is steady weight loss. We all want an overnight miracle, but this approach is far more likely to succeed – and importantly result in long term maintenance.

In fact your body's weight loss efficiency falls at a lower calorie level – in other words, the extra weight loss benefit of eating say 1,000 calories/day compared with eating 1,200 calories/day – is so small as to make the extra deprivation and hunger just not worth it.

Your daily target has been set to create the required calorie deficit for weight loss – so there is no need to feel like you should restrict yourself further in order to lose weight.

I've unlinked an exercise tracker, but the exercise kcals do not completely match the figure on my device.

The Nutracheck Widget uses the Apple Health app to regularly check and calculate the exercise kcals burned in the background, even if you don't open the Nutracheck app. However, depending on the iPhone's battery, memory and competing resources, this background refresh may vary in frequency. To bring the Widget up to date, simply tap on it which will open Nutracheck and automatically refresh all the exercise data.

I've installed one of the Widgets, but now my calorie badge has stopped showing.

Unfortunately the calorie badge isn't able to refreh in sync with the Widget due to technical restrictions. In order to avoid inconsistent figures showing on each one, the calorie badge is switched off whenever a Widget is installed. To return to using the calorie badge, we would suggest uninstalling the Widget.

Can I save calories for the weekend?

You can 'officially' plan for an easier target if you know you're going out. Here's what to do:

In the app

Tap the blue menu button next to the search bar in your diary > Diary Preferences > Easier Days. Choose the day(s) of the week that you'd like an easier target for – say Saturday or Sunday. Tap the green Save button to apply your changes.

On the website

Click on the Settings link above your food diary on the left then select the Choose easier days link. Choose the day(s) of the week that you'd like an easier target for and click Apply Changes.

This will redistribute your calories across the week to give you a few more on your chosen day(s). The total number of calories across the week remains the same, so you will find that your weekday targets go down, but by planning for your treat, you know you're still on track.

Can I have an easier calorie target for some days?

Yes! The great thing about the food diary approach is that it is flexible and focuses on the overall week. So if one day you do exceed your calorie targets, by making an adjustment later in the week to compensate – either by eating less or exercising more – you can still stay on track and lose weight.

It's generally best to try and plan your treats i.e. save your calories in advance, as it takes more discipline to 'pay them back', with the risk that it just might not happen!

To set easier days:

In the app

Tap the blue menu button in your diary > Diary Preferences > Easier Days.

On the website

Click on the Settings link above your food diary. Select the to Choose easier days link.

Choose the day(s) you'd like easier targets for – say Saturday or Sunday, and your calorie allowance will be redistributed across the week to give you a few more calories on your chosen days.

Does the Widget affect my iPhone's battery or performance?

Do I have to eat all of my fat target?

No! The figure on the website is based on the recommendation that no more than 35% of your total daily calories should come from fat. It's not a requirement that you must eat all the amount stated – treat the figure as a maximum limit that you should not exceed.

If you do find yourself eating less, that's fine but stick to around two-thirds of the target, don't eat less than half as fat (especially the good type) is essential for the healthy functioning of your body.

Diets that are classed as 'low fat' tend to reduce fat intake to between 20-25% of total daily calories. So based on a daily target of 1,400 calories, this equates to 31-39g fat per day. There is no official minimum figure, but it is not recommended to go below 25g fat per day as this starts to restrict you from having a balanced diet.

Try to choose good fats – these are found in vegetable sources such as nuts and seeds and avoid unhealthy saturated fats – these tend to be found in higher fat dairy products, the visible fat on meat and processed meat products such as sausages, pies and pates. Also steer clear of unhealthy trans fats – found in many processed products and take away foods.

Fat is the most concentrated source of calories at 9 cals per gram – that's twice the number of calories in 1 gram of carbs and protein. So it makes sense that sensibly reducing your total fat intake, is a very effective way of lowering the number of calories in your diet.

As an iPad user, will the exercise kcals on the Widget update automatically?

You can add exercise entries in the iPad app which will refresh the Widget, however as iPad doesn't have access to the Apple Health App, the exercise kcals will not automatically refresh in the background.

I want to go lower than 1,200 calories, why won't it let me do this?

We recommend a safe and realistic rate of weight loss of 1-2lbs per week. Our policy is that 1,200 calories a day is the minimum target allowed. While a lower target may result in faster initial weight loss, it is unlikely to be sustainable, plus a restricted food intake runs the risk of dietary deficiencies.

Why is 1,400 cals per day the minimum target you set?

Our system sets 1,400 calories as the lowest ongoing daily target on the expert advice of our consultant Dr Campbell. In his experience, trying to stick to a lower target for any length of time results in a higher drop out rate – your diet becomes much more restrictive and therefore harder to sustain. The secret of success is to maintain a reduced calorie intake over a period of time. This approach is far more likely to result in weight loss success – and importantly long term maintenance.

Very low calorie regimes and crash diets may initially result in a big weight drop, but initial weight loss will be largely water (especially in low carb regimes), and you will also risk losing lean muscle mass, sometimes even from areas such as heart muscle which has a potentially hazardous effect on health. Losing muscle also increases the proportion of fat in the body – which has a negative effect on metabolic rate (muscle being a more metabolically active tissue than fat).

Plus drastic food reduction causes the body to go into 'preserve' mode and become more efficient about calorie usage. Your weight loss won't ever go into reverse if you lower your calorie intake drastically, but you will get into a situation of ever decreasing returns in which your weight loss becomes less efficient. In other words the extra pain involved in terms of hunger / risk of nutritional deficiency etc is not worth it matched against the only small benefit you get in terms of extra weight lost. And when you do return to eating normally, your body will want to grab hold of the extra food and store it in case of another lean period! So the overall effect is a slowing of metabolic rate, increase in overall percentage body fat and less efficiency at losing weight!

That said, there may be members with certain circumstances who need a target lower than 1,400 calories in order to achieve their goal. The Set My Own option will let you reduce down to our minimum 1,200 calories. To do this:

In the app

Tap the blue menu button to the right of the search bar in your diary, select Nutrient Goals > Set My Own Goal. Now tap on the calorie figure to override it with your own number, scroll down and tap Apply Changes.

On the website

Click the Settings link above your diary. Select the Set a nutrient goal link then Set My Own Goal. Click on the calorie target to override it with your own figure, then scroll down and click Apply Changes.

What does 'TO BURN 200 KCAL' mean in my diary?

Nutracheck sets everyone a daily target of 200 calories to burn in exercise – this is to encourage all members to be more active each day, as this is not only beneficial for weight loss, but for general health too.

This shows in your diary next to 'TO BURN' as a greyed out 200 at the start of each day. As you add exercise to your diary throughout the day, the calories you burn will show in purple next to 'BURNED'. When you exceed your 200 calorie target, the grey figure next to 'TO BURN' changes to a positive green number, showing the number of calories you've gone over the 200 target by.

If you exceed the exercise target, the extra calories burned in green will not be added to your calorie allowance for the day as you are using the Separate Diary View. If the activity you are doing is extra exercise above your usual routine, then you should consider eating back these additional calories over your 200 calorie exercise target. This will ensure your net intake is not too low. The Combined Diary View does this automatically and may be more suitable if you are quite active.

Can you define the different activity levels?

Work/Daytime Activity Level

Light – Have a job that involves long periods of sitting (office-based / driving) or are home-based and sitting for much of the day. Typical jobs: office worker, sales rep, bus/taxi/lorry driver.

Moderate – On your feet for much of the day, either standing or occasional slow paced walking. Typical jobs: shop assistant, teacher, chef/cook, bar worker, engineer.

Heavy – Active for much of the day, walking non-stop and carrying objects. Typical jobs: hospital/ward nurse, waitressing in a busy restaurant, cleaner, porter, labourer/construction worker, gardener, farm worker

Leisure Activity Level

Inactive – Do very little exercise, going for the occasional walk (moderate pace, low intensity). Spend majority of leisure time doing activities such as watching TV, playing computer games, on the internet, reading, cooking, driving, general household chores.

Moderately active – Do light to moderate intensity exercise 3-4 times a week. E.g. going to the gym / swimming / cycling / horse riding / dance classes / playing golf. Daily dog walking (brisk pace, twice a day).

Very active – You exercise almost every day of the week doing high intensity training such as running, spinning, team or competitive sports. Or regularly undertake activities such as heavy gardening, heavy DIY work.

4 tips to tailor your diary

4 tips to tailor your app diary

1. Your Diary view

You have a choice of two diary settings. Which is right for you depends on your goal and lifestyle. Watch this video to help you decide:


How to switch: Tap the blue menu button > Diary Preferences > Daily Totals.

2. Your calorie allowance

You can enter your own calorie target using Set My Own Goal (minimum 1,200 kcals).

How to change: Tap the blue menu button > Nutrient Goals > Set My Own Goal.

Set my own

3. Your daily trackers

Choose which trackers you want in your diary. There are four options; Water, 5-a-day, Alcohol Units, Alcohol calories.

How to change: Tap the Water or 5-a-day icon > Discover more trackers.

Diary trackers

4. Your nutrient choice

You can change the nutrients being tracked in your diary by tapping the column headers.

Diary Options

Why does my partner's diary look different to mine?

It sounds like you have different Diary views set in your accounts. There are two options for how you view your targets – Combined Daily Totals or Separate Daily Totals.

To check your Diary setting:

In the app

Tap the blue menu button (to the right of the search bar) and select Diary Preferences > Daily Totals. You can then switch between the two views.

On the website

Click on the Settings link above your food diary, select Change diary layout & daily totals, under Daily totals tick either the Combined or Separate option – click Apply Changes.

How do I adjust my goal date?

Your goal date is automatically calculated based on 3 factors; your goal weight, the weekly rate of weight loss you selected, and your last weight entry. It's not possible to manually adjust this.

For example, if your goal weight is 10lbs away from your last weigh-in and your rate of weight loss is set to 2lbs per week, your goal date will show as being 5 weeks away. If you then lose more than 2lbs the next week, your goal date will be brought forward to reflect this.

Can you give me advice on gaining weight?

When your goal is to gain weight, it's important to not only eat calorie dense foods, but also nutrient rich foods. Try not to just focus on high calorie food like takeaways, crisps and chocolate – while these will help to increase your calorie intake, they mostly provide empty calories and will also significantly increase your saturated fat and sugar intake, so not good choices for your overall health.

Gaining weight should be done in the same way as losing weight – sensibly and gradually. Good food choices when you're looking to gain weight are: Lean meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, pulses, oily fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts, full fat dairy foods e.g. milk, yogurt, cheese.

Eating extra calories might seem a bit daunting if you're used to small portions or your appetite isn't great so here are some tips:

  1. Start off by adding in some extra snacks, and then gradually increase the total amount of food you eat over the course of the day.
  2. The frequency of meal occasions is also a good way to increase calorie and nutrient intake. Try to eat 6 times per day: 3-4 small meals and at least 2 snacks per day.
  3. At least 3 meal occasions during the day should include protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables or salad and a source of fat.
  4. Base your meals around wholemeal carbohydrates such as wholemeal pasta; lean protein such as skinless chicken breast and fish, and plenty of fruits and vegetables – then enrich these with additional ingredients such as yogurt, fruit, nuts and healthy fats.
  5. Continue eating a wide range of foods from all food groups, but increase your portion size realistically wherever possible.
  6. If you're looking to gain muscle mass rather than just gain weight, you will need to increase your protein intake as well as calories. Muscle mass will only increase with strength training. Post-training, include high protein snacks such as protein bars, protein shakes or milk to ensure maximum recovery.

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