So I’m not as much a fan of calorie counting as I am of simply eliminating sugar, white flour products, and processed foods from my body! And yes, this is tough. I’m not perfect at it either, but I strive for it. I figure if I hit the mark 85% of the time, I’m moving in the right direction!
But there are those out there who are learning to read food labels … and they are on a journey of seeing food in a whole new way and getting a grip on their health! They might be checking out a food’s protein, sugar, vitamin, or sodium content as well as calories. Kudos to you! And one way to become cognizant of what you’re putting into your body is to simply…track it!
In 2015, the Journal of Medical Internet Research published a study titled: Adherence to a Smartphone Application for Weight Loss Compared to Website and Paper Diary.”
The study stated that “In recent years, research into mobile devices to facilitate dietary and physical activity self-monitoring and weight-related behavior change has grown. Mobile phones, in particular, are an intuitively appealing intervention platform given that they are ubiquitous, engaging, and portable.” This study sought to compare the ability of participants to stay engaged with a phone app versus “two other self-monitoring interventions to allow comparison of self-monitoring on a mobile phone against other approaches.”
I bet you’re not surprised … the smartphone app won! Over 93 percent of the app participants continued to track their weight-related behavior and calories for the duration of the entire study (six months) whereas only 55% continued in the website group and only 53 percent in the diary group.
Of all the calorie counter apps out there, My Fitness Pal comes in first, according to ratings by Livescience.com. The site states that the app has as many or more features in its free version as other fitness-tracking apps. It compiles a pie chart with a breakdown of calories based on percentages from carbs, fats, and proteins…and can be seen on a daily or weekly basis. And considering what we discussed above about tracking, a nice add-on is the notes section, where users can either journal about their food, or their thoughts, or their exercise that day.
The app keeps a running total of calories so users can see where they stand in relation to their goal intake throughout the day, and it also has a huge searchable nutrition database. That means you’ll find the calorie count of almost any food you want to look up!
Finally, Livescience.com notes that the best feature of all is “the app’s ability to download recipes directly into the app and get estimated calorie counts. The app will take the recipe ingredient list, cross-check it with its nutrition database, and give an estimate of calories per serving. (Users can check the app’s work and alter any calories or serving sizes that need tweaking.) For people who scour the Internet for recipes, this feature is invaluable.”