Fitness Trackers Part II: Food Tracking
A look into how the food tracking feature works on fitness wearables
I feel like the power of this feature isn't given enough credit.
Food tracking features with fitness wearables, or even on a site or app without one is basically a function that allows you to input everything you ate and it talleys the nutrients up. You select the food, put in the quantity (super important) and it does all the math for you. Any food tracking system should give you a calorie count, carbs, sugar, protein, fat, fiber and sodium. Most give more.
If it's a system where you have put in your age, gender, activity level, height and weight, it should also give you the golden numbers of how many calories you have left to eat.
Those are the basics.
The food databases of most of the big-name apps and sites will be the best because they have been around the longest. These databases are built from people adding foods. Credibility of the nutrition facts is established by pictures of the label being submitted and someone from the company has to verify it. Sometimes you see minor errors but you can just verify it with the actual label you have.
Tracking the foods can be done a few ways. Normally you just type in the food, select what you need, and click enter. I like the barcode scanning feature, where it uses your phone and all you have to do is type in how much you ate.
The barcode scanner isn't perfect and sometimes reads it wrong, but usually it gets it by the second try. Sometimes the results are humorous, like the time I scanned wraps and got fruit. But usually it works out just fine.
How long does it take you to scan your food each day? 5-10 minutes.
But it is worth it. That's some powerful number-crunching that happens and is super informative.
Food tracking teaches you a great deal. You learn:
- About what kind of calorie and nutrient content your favorite foods have
- You are given a numeric understanding of the health value of foods and beverages
- You learn how much you are actually eating
-You learn what actual recommended serving sizes look like. If you ignore this step, you are absolutely lying to yourself about the calories you are consuming. This is probably one of the biggest hindrances of people losing weight
- You learn how to portion control, because you'll want to stay within your numbers
It's a pretty big deal. In my programs, I really encourage people to food track. You just have so much more of an understanding day to day on what you are doing. You have so much more control and you prevent so many inadvertent errors.
I literally cannot lose weight without food tracking. Even if I KNOW I have been eating healthy, I still don't lose.
If you have been struggling, consider a fitness tracker with a food tracker as part of the app. Fitbit's is great, but I have a feeling others are catching up. Anything that integrates with Livestrong or Myfitnesspal is bound to be good too.