An App a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Apps have made our lives so easy now, haven’t they? For instance, wouldn’t it be convenient if there were one that could tell me where the closest available bathroom is?
There’s an app for almost everything. Fortunately, app abundance extends to the health and nutrition categories, too. Actually there are so many apps in this department that it can be overwhelming to navigate and select the most effective one for your specific health journey.
A 2008 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that the act of writing down your food alone aids weight loss by increasing awareness – making healthier food choices and being physically active a part of your lifestyle.
To ease app decision-making, here’s a summary of a handful of the most user-friendliest apps on the market.
MyFitnessPal (free) is one of the most widely used food diary and fitness log apps that exists. This is due to its comprehensive food and restaurant database in addition to it?s ease of use. The focus on calories versus diet balance is a reservation on this particular app.
Low-Glycal diet by Biofit (free) This app, unlike MyFitnessPal, is focused on lowering the total glycemic load in your diet, not total calories. “Glycals” are the “total number of calories in a meal that will be stored as fat” (according to Dr. Jeffrey S Dunham, MD, PhD, MPH and graduate of Harvard Medical School). This app uses color coding to identify a food as having high, medium or low glycals depending on food combining, if it’s eaten alone, and what time of day it is consumed.
Fitocracy Macros (free) Although this is a calorie counter, this app summarizes how your calories are dispersed across the macronutrients-protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Since the key to diet success is determining the correct balance for your body and eating accordingly, this app is on the right track. The drawback is the current lack of food database, yet the app’s maker, Fitocracy, Inc, is in the works of adding this feature, plus more useful perks like fiber, water, and alcohol tracking.
Lose It (free + additional cost for “premium features”) As the name suggests, the focus here is on weight loss, yet this app allows you to choose how you want to lose weight. The user sets personal carbohydrate, fat, protein, fiber, and sodium goals. Other pluses: it takes into account sleep and exercise, it?s NikeFuel compatible, and it has a barcode scanner.
Whatever your goal may be there is certainly an app to make it easier-whether it’s weight loss, diabetes management, or simply balancing healthy eating and fitness. Plus, after incorporating apps into your health regime, you may come to realize the unexpected benefit of mindfulness. The simple habit of recording your day’s food and exercise brings awareness to habits and adds the element of self-accountability- which in turn, may help you to make healthier lifestyle decisions sustainable.
Now that you are equipped with these healthy apps not only will your lifestyle be healthier -you will be a hit with your friends when you can direct them to the nearest restroom.
This blog was co-written by Susan Dopart and RD intern Kristen Procter