Friday, January 13, 2012

More than a calorie counter

I've started exploring myfitnesspal as part of my interest in nutrition. We all know, I assume, that if calories consumed exceed calories used, then weight gain is inevitable. But how many of us have an accurate idea of our calorie intake?

Myfitnesspal is both a web-based food diary and an app for both iPhone and iPad. It allows you quickly to enter data about the food you eat and the exercise you take on a day-by-day basis. There is even a barcode scanner option for gathering data about a food item. By setting manageable goals you can track your progress. At the end of the day you can review both the calories consumed and the balance of the day's diet. So, for example, if you are trying to derive say 30% of your calories from protein, you can see how you are doing.

I suspect that over time, if you use it honestly, you will get a pretty good idea of what a typical day looks lie and where to make changes. I think it might also help design different eating plans.

There is a good range of easily accessed food data available without having to enter carbohydrate, protein and fat breakdowns. This was today's breakfast:

You can save any given meal, or you can copy a meal from a previous day or date, so it's quite a flexible system. I don't know that I would use it over a really long time. I think it's more a case of getting to know what a typical day or a typical meal means to my overall diet.

Oh, and by the way, it's free!

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