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Tracking Still Works

Tracking is once again a winner when it comes to helping us achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  Tracking has long been a key strategy included in most weight management programs, including the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less and Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes programs.  Writing down everything that we are eating and drinking and how we are moving, helps us become more mindful about these important behaviors.  It is only when we are more mindful about what we are currently doing that we can put a realistic plan in place to make healthy changes. 

While the research has sung the praises of tracking for decades, a recent Duke University study confirmed these results.  Researchers found that even without following a particular eating plan, those who tracked their daily food consumption using a free smartphone app lost a significant amount of weight. The results are encouraging and show that using automated, free tools, rather than more costly in-person interventions could be an effective low-cost route to weight loss.

Which apps are best?  Below are some recent reviews of the top tracking apps (in no particular order):

MyPlate Calorie Counter

  • Android rating:  4.6
  • iPhone rating:  4.7
  • Price:  Free with in-app purchases
  • MyPlate is a comprehensive tracking tool that tracks both food and exercise on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Android Phone.  The bar code scanner finds and tracks food easily.  Create custom foods and meals.  Keep track of weight and progress over time.  Set up a personalized daily calorie goal based on profile information. 

SuperFood – Healthy Recipes

  • Android rating:  4.6
  • iPhone rating:  5.0
  • Price:  Free with in-app purchases
  • This app provides free access to many, many healthy recipes with regional ingredients that you can save in the grocery list.  A calorie calculator helps to track calories and nutrients.  Local and seasonal dishes including vegetarian recipes are available.  Nutrient analysis is provided for each recipe.  A cooking mode keeps the screen on while cooking.

Lose It! Calorie Counter

  • Android rating:  4.6
  • iPhone rating:  4.3
  • Price:  Free with in-app purchases
  • Lose It! allows you to set up a profile with your current and goal weight and will calculate your daily calorie budget.  Easily track your food, weight, and activity.  The bar code scanner finds and tracks food easily.  You can also take a picture of food to track.  Extensive food database with more than 27 million searchable foods.  Create your own recipes and choose among a library of workouts.

MyFitnessPal

  • Android rating:  4.4
  • iPhone rating:  4.7
  • Price:  Free with in-app purchases
  • MyFitnessPal also allows you to set up a profile with your current and goal weight and will calculate your daily calorie budget.  Easily track your food, weight, and activity.  Use the bar code scanner to find and track food.  Extensive food database with accurate nutrition facts for more than 14 million foods.  Get ideas from the 250+ healthy recipes and 150+ workouts.  You can also get support from a large online community.

MyNetDiary

  • Android rating:  4.6
  • iPhone rating:  4.8
  • Price:  Free with in-app purchases
  • MyNetDiary comes highly rated and similar to the other apps, it also allows you to set up a profile to track your food, weight, and activity.  A bar code scanner is provided to find and track food.  Build a shopping list, track your water intake, and choose among the 370,000 recipe ideas.  Mediterranean, vegetarian, and vegan recipes are provided, along with a large exercise database.

Nutrients – Nutrient Facts

  • iPhone rating:  4.2
  • Price:  $4.99
  • Get a complete nutrient breakdown for tens of thousands of foods including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, fatty acids, sugars, sterols, and caffeine, to name a few.  You can create your own recipes and then create a nutrient analysis.  You can also track the foods that you eat every day and find out nutrients where you may be deficient. 

References:

Duke University. “Tracking food leads to losing pounds: Those who tracked food and weight lost pounds in new study.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190228154839.htm>.

Michele L Patel, Christina M Hopkins, Taylor L Brooks, Gary G Bennett. Comparing Self-Monitoring Strategies for Weight Loss in a Smartphone App: Randomized Controlled TrialJMIR mHealth and uHealth, 2019; 7 (2): e12209 DOI: 10.2196/12209

Healthline:  The Best Nutrition Apps of 2020.  Accessed on 11.04.21. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/top-iphone-android-apps


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2 comments on “Tracking Still Works

  1. Nikki Lamothe on

    Love My Fitness Pal and have been working on weight loss in it, with moving c/o the awesome team at Camp Gladiator! Working with a registered dietician to establish total calorie requirements and macros to which to adhere for my height, weight, body type, and activity level are key, but you just plug those requirements into the My Fitness Pal app, and you are on your way to easy tracking!

    Reply

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