Calorie-Counting App Helps Dieters

Calorie-Counting App Helps Dieters

How’s that New Year’s diet going for ya? Yeah, I thought so.

If you’re like most people trying to lose weight, you’ve been tracking calories, because research has shown that keeping a food diary is an effective weight-loss strategy. And you’ve also learned what a hassle tracking calories can be.

First you have to know how much you’ve eaten: Was that three teaspoons or a half-cup, or two ounces? And then you have to know or find out how many calories are in what you’ve eaten. Fitness apps will look up food for you, but it takes time to type in each morsel consumed. If you wait until the end of the day to input your consumption, though, it’s likely you’ll have forgotten that cupcake to celebrate your co-worker’s birthday, or the children’s leftovers you ate because you hate to see food wasted.

So it’s not surprising that research also shows that many people fail at keeping a food diary. Most patients introduced to a calorie-tracking app in a study conducted at two primary care centers in Los Angeles had stopped using it after a month.

FitClick, a “social fitness community” founded in 2009, thinks it can solve this problem with a new app called Talk-to-Track. A user speaks into the microphone on a smartphone.

For example, let’s say you record “one Kirkland grapefruit cup,” “one-half cup hummus,” “20 almonds” (you have to say the word “comma” between foods). Next, you would have to check that the entry was transcribed correctly before uploading it to that day’s food diary. The result: the nutritional information and a running record of the calories you’ve consumed, as well as the amount of fat, fiber, carbs and protein. (Sugar would be a nice addition.)

It sounds simple, but users run into some of the same issues as with other calorie trackers. (Exactly how much did I eat?) On top of that, there are the occasional talk-to-text difficulties. (One biscotti became “one miss conti,” though you can always resort to typing.) And while the database seems generally accurate, I did find errors. If all else fails, it is possible just to tell it how many calories you consumed: Instead of saying “Kirkland grapefruit cup,” for example, you could say “110 calories.”

This app is fun and fast, and could be an easier gateway into food tracking. But as with many such apps, users need to understand portions and be familiar with the calories in the foods they consume. And in this case, to speak clearly.

Author: Elizabeth Chang The Washington Post

Share This Post On

Our Newspaper Family Includes:

Stay up to date on business happenings in the Upper Valley and beyond with the Enterprise newsletter. Delivered to your inbox once per week!

You have Successfully Subscribed!