Stop using calorie counting apps

Illustration for an article titled Stop Using Calorie Counting Apps

Photo: Victoria Song / Gizmodo

You. Yes, you are your finger in the position above the button to download some kind of diet or calorie counting app. Stop it. I know January, the main time to solve the problem of weight loss, is just around the corner, and that some of you may not feel too much about the extra pounds gained during quarantine. Others might feel compelled to start 2021 with a fresh healthy diet. Great. Great. You don’t need calories-counting the application for it.

If you make a brief GSearch Google or track any health and fitness account on social media, You will find dozens of articles and influential people talking about the benefits of counting calories and recommendation applications like MyFitnessPal, Noom, LoseIt !, and Chron-o-meter. A lot to quote studies who say people who keep food diaries are more likely to lose weight and keep them away. But, my friends, keeping a food diary is not necessarily the same thing as obsessive logging every calorie you put in your mouth.

Problem with many caloriesapplication counting is how they are designed. Typically the boarding procedure has you enter your statistics, including yours height, current weight, target weight, activity level and in what time frame you want to lose (or gain) the specified weight. From there, the app will use some formula to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). If you just lay down all day, with no movement, BMR would be the number of calories your body needs to keep everything running. From there, the app will generate a daily calorie intake – a combination of your BMR, minus a certain number of calories based on your activity level and the speed at which you want to lose weight. This is a bit of complicated math, but if you don’t opt ​​for indirect calorimetry, a procedure that involves connecting to a fan for a set amount of time to measure the heat it generatessIf you exhale, you only get a playground figure that may not even apply exactly to your body.

Even MyFitnessPal admits on the blog that his estimates are not 100% accurate. Personally, MyFitnessPal told me that in order to lose about a pound a week, I would have to eat approximately 1370 calories a day. That’s a little too close to the minimum of 1,200 recommended for women, and if you want to get past my Apple Watch, I burn about 2,100-2,500 calories a day. (Although I appreciated that if I ingested less than 1,000 calories a day, MyFitnessPal objected to me eating more.)

Pa your calorie-counting application is likely giving you a per diem that is basically flawed right from the jump. However, if you record calories, even if they are estimates, you will still get a fairly accurate picture of calorie consumption, right? No!

Although the calorie databases of these applications have expanded significantly over the past decade, anyone who has used them for a few days can tell you about the limitations. If you cook meaI’m at home, you will need to find the exact ingredient you are using and accurately measure the exact amount you used for that ingredient to get the most accurate measurement. Then you have to save it as a recipe. This process is tedious even in a large database application like MyFitnessPal. Some will allow you to import a recipe from a website, but that feature doesn’t always work and doesn’t consider replacing an ingredient or two. Forget about food or food in a restaurant, unless it’s a fast food chain that provides caloric information. This means that calorie-counting apps can encourage you to eat packaged foods done healthier, homemade dishes, simply because they are easier to report.

Even if you commit yourself heroically to never eat and meticulously create logs for all your scratches meals, calorie counting ingredients are only estimates. No two medium potatoes have the same caloric content. How does the application even define mean versus potato? If you do not use a scale to measure portions per gram, it is extremely easy to overestimate or underestimate the actual intake. (And who will keep pulling around the scales?) This Atlantic report notes that approximately 30% of people underestimate how much they eat. It was also discovered that people exaggerated the intake of healthy food. On top of that, you can’t even 100% trust the food label because the Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to calculate calories using five different methods i allows to error margin 20%. To 100-a caloric snack could actually be as much as 80 calories or even 120 calories.

Let’s say a miracle happened and your daily amount of calories was in place on i you actually get an accurate view of how many calories you ate per day. According to Scientific American, it is almost impossible to calculate exactly how many calories you actually absorb from the food you eat. Different methods of preparation will affect how many calories you absorb – you get more from cooked meat than, for example, you would get from raw meat. Fiber foods are also harder for your body to break down. Your individual gut bacteria can also affect how many calories you absorb. Never, never come across calories-calculating an application that could explain it mathematically.

This means nothing about calories burned whose inaccuracy is talking for another day. However, many cut food apps will restore the calories burned to your daily dose, giving confidence to the idea that you can overcome a poor diet if you just exercise enough. Things don’t work that way! Running 10K doesn’t mean you have 600 or more extra calories at once to “spend” on three slices of pizza – not if you really want to be healthy in the long run. A 2014 study in British Journal of Sports Medicine he noted that “physical activity does not promote weight loss” and is actually important where your calories come from. Calories from sugar, fat and protein will be metabolized differently. Can you use calories-counting app to track your macronutrients? Of course. But that app won’t calculate where the calories come from. In addition, whatever calorie burning estimate your app gives you for a particular activity isn’t even universally accurate. Two 150-pound people will burn different calories based on the amount of fat or lean muscle mass and how active they are.

The whole point of food diaries is not to obsessively compare arbitrary numbers. To get a clearer picture of why, when and how much food you eat – as well as how you felt while eating that food. To do this, it is better to just write down what you eat in a notebook. Calorie-counting apps don’t make the process easier, they don’t explain the nuances of why “calorie intake, calorie output” may not work for you, and they’re not particularly accurate either. Most people who take in caloriesthe counting application does not track it. This 2014 study found that when offered a free self-monitoring application, only 2.58% of participants were active users and that most of these active users were already healthy.

These apps focus on calories because it’s an easy way to visualize food intake, especially when it comes to losing weight. You don’t have to count on shades of the human body if you just tell people if they eat X calories, they will lose pounds in Z months. Apps certainly don’t take into account the false narratives they promote or the eating disorders that have been it turned out to be getting worse. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds or if you want to keep food intake records, for whatever reason. But instead of wasting time on a calorie counting app that might just serve you for banana rides,, you might want to consult a registered dietitian or physician to achieve these goals safely and sustainably.