ORLANDO (CBS Tampa) – Dieters are finding new ways to utilize technology in their quest to lose weight.
Now a new study supports the high-tech approach when it comes to keeping track of what you eat each day.
Researchers found people were more careful when using a smartphone app to keep a food diary rather than the old pen and paper method, as reported by Yahoo News.
“The biggest mediator for weight loss is adherence to self-monitoring,” said lead author Lora Burke, a professor of nursing and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.
The researchers used data from two previous studies on food diary use, and compared how well people stuck with their food monitoring programs for six months utilizing three different types of diaries: smartphone, personal digital assistant (PDA), and paper diary.
As time went on, all the participants began to lapse in keeping their food diaries.
But the researchers found during the last week of the study, the smartphone app users were recording their food intake 62 percent of the time.
That was still better than the PDA users, who kept track 51 percent of the time by the study’s end, and much better than the 34 percent for those using pen and paper.
People may be more likely to stick with filling out smartphone diaries because they’re more user-friendly, Burke said. In addition, many food diary apps give feedback, which can be encouraging.
With a smartphone, it’s possible to log your food intake without other people realizing what you’re doing, she added. Paper diaries, on the other hand, can be time-consuming and conspicuous, she said.
The researchers noted that the people included in the study were, for the most part, white, middle-age women with a college education. It’s not clear whether the findings would apply to other groups.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Orlando.
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