Can your smart phone actually help you to improve your
weight-loss success? A study presented at the annual American Heart Association
Meeting says, “Yes!” Specifically, obese and overweight patients who used an
electronic logging system were more likely to stick to a plan for successful
weight loss than were those who used pen and paper to record their diet and
exercise information (American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and
Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific
Why is this so? We know that people are historically
inaccurate in remembering and recording what and how much they eat. Using a
food and exercise app on your smart phone might be the missing link to achieving
What to Look For
How easy is it for you to enter food items, portions, and activities? A
good food and exercise app shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to enter a
day’s worth of data.
Can you build your eating plan according to your personal nutrient needs?
Size. Ideally, a good diet app
should offer a selection of at least 100,000 foods.
Choices: Does the application have information on chain restaurants?
Can you input and analyze popular recipes for nutritional content?
Does the app provide positive feedback when you’re achieving your goals? Look
for programs that track your progress towards your nutrient and fitness goals
Some of the best smart-phone applications have pie charts, bar graphs, and time
lines for measuring your diet progress. These visual cues can help keep you on
One word of caution:
Be careful when you enter food items not found in the database to customize a
personal food. In my experience, some of the information entered by end users can
be inaccurate. A typographical or numerical error can skew your data and create
The Bottom Line
Studies show that the mere act of recording your foods makes
you more aware of how much and what foods you are eating. I encourage my clients
to be consistent and to track and report their food habits any which way they
can. If you are using a smart-phone app that is convenient, accessible, and
accurate, it can be a good complimentary tool to achieving your wellness and weight-loss