How Diet-Tracking Apps Help People Stay Healthy
In recent years, more people have recognized the importance of a healthy diet and other healthy habits. However, despite this shift towards better health, many still tend to underestimate what they eat. A study by Cornell University found that people with normal weight underestimate calorie intake by 20% while overweight people underestimate it by around 40%. This is often caused by a dysfunction in the hippocampus within the brain, which weakens people’s ability to anticipate the consequences of eating. This problem is only exacerbated by consuming processed foods, which further diminishes episodic memory, regardless of age, leading to unhealthy diet habits.
To sustain health goals, more people are turning to fitness applications to measure calories and other statistical health data. While tracking doesn’t directly correlate to a healthier body, studies have shown that recording diet and other health data can be an effective way to build healthy habits. Here are some ways diet-tracking apps can help people stay healthy:
Boost understanding of eating habits
As mentioned earlier, people tend to overeat unwittingly. By relying on a diet tracker, people can eliminate memory problems and objectively measure food consumption. Applications can ease the documentation process and enable daily dietary self-monitoring, improving people’s awareness of their nutritional needs. Having health-related information readily available is also ideal for persons suffering from non-communicable diseases, as it enables them to address potential causes of health issues.
It can be challenging for people making significant changes to their diet, which is why some applications orient their services towards education and motivation. Noom isn’t just a food tracker, it also provides dialectical behavioral therapy that can teach you the importance of what you eat, helping you be more accountable for your health choices and encouraging you to change for the better.
Place focus on nutrition
Many fad diets often focus on caloric intake, leading to people cutting out on food they used to eat. These diets are usually unsustainable and unhealthy in the long run and may even lead to binge eating later. The best health apps are moving away from restrictive diets and focusing on nutrition. Rather than removing your favorite foods, WeightWatchers’ weight loss programs guide you toward eating more nutritious foods and finding the right portion sizes. This approach is more sustainable in the long term, allowing you to overcome potential hurdles like stress-eating or late-night snacking and work towards healthier food consumption.
Some applications take a more holistic approach and determine nutritional needs through questionnaires. The WeightWatchers’ application provides users with a nutritional plan tailored to their goals, which serves as a guide. In addition, their application also shares over 12,000 recipes for healthy meals— helping people change their meals, eat what they love, still lose weight, and meet their nutritional needs.
Encourage other healthy habits
Although healthy eating can prevent many health issues, many experts note that exercise and sleep are critical habits in almost all aspects of health. But for many, it’s difficult to balance healthy behaviors simultaneously. Instead of rushing the process, a good diet can become a stepping stone to becoming more confident with healthy habits. This can help with goal setting, allowing people to make incremental improvements.
According to your health data, some applications establish goals for you to meet— giving users something to work towards. MyFitnessPal combines food and exercise goals, allowing users to input food and track their workouts. It also syncs with almost every activity and fitness-tracking device, making it a convenient app to house your health data. Through a holistic approach to health, you can improve not only your diet but also your physical activity levels and sleep habits.
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