Many people feel that keeping a food diary is too time consuming and tedious, but dietary self-monitoring is the best predictor of weight loss success. A recent study out of the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina has discovered that it only takes 15 minutes per day or less. The most interesting finding from this research is that it is not the amount of time spent recording but the frequencyof these log-ins. Jean Harvey is the chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont and was the lead author of this study. She states that the participants of this study that logged in three or more times per day, day after day, were those who were most successful.
The 142 participants of the study logged their daily food intake for 24 weeks. The most successful participants of this study lost 10% of their body weight. In the first month of the study, these participants spent 23.2 minutes per day logging their food and by the sixth month, they spent 14.6 minutes. As the study went on, the participants’ increasing efficiency in recording their daily food intake decreased their time spent logging. Their increased efficiency can be attributed to the technology of the program used to record their daily food intake. In the case of the app My Fitness Pal, the program has the ability to complete phrases automatically after typing in just as few letters. My Fitness Pal also remembers your previous entries and keeps a log of your “recents”, making logging your food easier as time goes on.
This is a great study to show that tracking your macros, a form of dietary self-monitoring, is an awesome weight loss strategy and shouldn’t be dismissed so quickly. As Harvey states, dietary self-monitoring is highly effective and it’s not as hard as people think.
University of Vermont. “Is the most effective weight-loss strategy really that hard? New study shows dietary self-monitoring takes less than 15 minutes a day.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190225075616.htm>