Diet apps: chances are you’ve heard of them, stumbled across them on your phone’s app store, or even set out to download one yourself to track your nutrition and progress towards your weight goals. Whether a diet apps diary, a digital substitute for a physical food diary, or a handy guide for tailored sports nutrition, one thing is for certain: diet apps have created an interesting digital niche, and there’s a lot to take into consideration before and during their use.
One of the most frequently asked questions about them, besides, of course, how to use diet app, is what do experts in the field actually think of them? Do people who have studied nutrition in depth find usefulness in diet apps, and how can they be used to deliver the best possible results?
In this article, we’re going to give you a primer on the so-called “diet apps eating” and help you make an informed decision on whether they are a good fit for your personal fitness, wellness, and nutritional regimen.
What are diet apps and healthcare apps?
Diet apps are apps that help you to track your daily food and water intake by allowing you to keep an in-app log of what foods you consumed each day. Most apps also have an option to create a weekly or monthly food calendar, as well as make precise calculations regarding your caloric intake through a built-in app database of various dishes. Diet apps with meal plans take things a step further since you can also take advantage of their useful meal planning suggestions and adapt your eating habits to meet your goals.
Another category is diet apps for diabetics, where dietary suggestions are made in accordance with diabetes management guidelines. In the same vein, diet apps for athletes are designed to help athletes keep track of their specialized dietary regimen, which allows them to enhance their performance and maintain their ideal measurements.
What do healthcare professionals think of the diet monitoring app trend?
A recent study published in the scientific journal Nutrients presented the results of an international survey that polled various healthcare practitioners, namely physicians, dieticians/nutritionists, and pharmacists, on their thoughts on diet apps. A previous survey authored by another group of scientists found that approximately 30% of the polled sports dietitians reported that they had used diet apps to monitor their clients.
In the most recent study, authors found that almost half of the participating healthcare professionals (45.4%) would recommend a diet app to their clients. However, the remaining participants expressed dissatisfaction with using a diet app, citing issues which included, but were not limited to the fact that the diet app of their choosing:
- Focuses on weight loss and not on introducing healthy lifestyle changes;
- Did not account for cultural-related variations in diets;
- Excluded micronutrient information;
- Included commands that could be misunderstood;
- Required too much interaction;
- Provided limited information that would help the patients understand nutritional facts and prescriptions.
Another interesting finding was that nurses and dieticians were more likely to recommend diet apps than doctors. At the same time, study participants further indicated that many barriers make it challenging to adopt the use of diet apps, such as the presence of inaccurate databases for food composition, the absence of information on local food composition, non-personalization in terms of spoken language, and unit measurements, the lack of in-app history records, and more.
Diet apps can be an incredibly useful tool in monitoring eating habits and serving as an accountability companion in helping one reach their nutritional and fitness goals. However, it’s worth pointing out that there’s no absolute digital substitute to putting in the effort towards making profound lifestyle changes that can improve one’s overall wellness.
While diet apps are inarguably an important asset in a long journey towards self-improvement, the motivation, grit, and perseverance needed to reach each milestone come from within. Taking that into account, choosing a diet app should be a conscious choice that should complement an already decisive attitude towards change and self-improvement. Once that foundation has been established, it will be easy to select the most appropriate diet app to address one’s individual needs and propel them towards success.
Let us know in the comments: have you used a diet app? If so, what was your ultimate goal, and did the diet app of your choosing help you reach it?