FOOD TRACKING APPS- WHAT AND WHY
FOOD TRACKING APPS
Food tracking apps – also known as calorie-counting apps and nutrition apps – are on the rise. They are now used by a wide range of people, from sports professionals, personal trainers, group fitness instructors and fitness instructors to the general public.
The rise of the smartphone and food-tracking apps has made it easier to assess and record our food intake, in the same way that wearable technology has helped us measure our daily exercise (see our blog on Wearable technology – fun or functional).
Popular food-tracking apps include:
- CalorieCounter Pro (My Net Diary)
- Diet Assistance
- Lose It!
- Noom Coach: Weight Loss
CAN FOOD-TRACKING APPS HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Many people use them in a bid to lose a few pounds; MyFitnessPal’s website states that: “Medical studies show that keeping a food journal DOUBLES your weight loss!”
However, food-tracking apps are also aimed at people who want to follow a balanced diet for general heath reasons.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Food-tracking apps offer a variety of functions, for example:
- Counting and logging calories
- Giving information on nutritional content of food and drink
- Relating your diet to your exercise habits/energy expenditure
- Setting personal goals
- Scanning food and drink barcodes
- Offering nutritional information for meals at popular restaurants/fast food chains
- Providing recipes
Some apps will work out how many calories you will use up doing a variety of exercises – including everyday activities such as climbing stairs or walking to work.
They can also be linked with wearable technology such as fitness bands and watches.
CAN I SHARE MY INFORMATION WITH OTHER PEOPLE?
Some apps enable you to link with friends through your phone contacts, email or social media, and with other people through online forums. This allows you to compare your achievements and get encouragement.
HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?
Some apps are free, as long as you accept that they come with adverts. In many cases you can choose a premium service for a monthly or yearly fee. Higher fees on some apps give you access to 1-2-1 advice about your meals from a coach.
The accuracy of measurements can vary from app to app, as can the ability to review your past history. Some people report that continually typing in lots of data on a smartphone can be cumbersome and prefer using a good old-fashioned diet diary instead.
As always, it’s recommended that any changes to your diet should be carried out under the supervision of a medical professional. It’s also worth talking to the best personal trainer you know or a group fitness instructor if you want to lose weight or improve your fitness levels.