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Digital dieting

July 20, 2011 - Kathie Evanoff
There is no doubt the electronic and digital explosion is changing the world and in many ways, the way we live.

Books are being replaced by e-readers. Paper and pens were long ago replaced by electronic “pads” that do everything from taking our photos to transmitting our daily newspaper. Even college students are excited because they can download their textbooks for a fraction of the cost of printed textbooks. Seldom do we see anyone walking around without a phone. If it’s not up to their ear, it is in their hands with thumbs flying over a digital keyboard. It was just a few years ago I was asking my adult kids, “I’ve been hearing a lot lately about apps. What is an app?”

Not only have I learned about apps (short for application), I have a few favorites of my own. One of my favorite applications on my “smartphone” is the diet app called “MyNetDiary.”

I’ve long talked about the importance of logging meals and keeping track of daily calorie counts. For years, I’ve carried around little notebooks, thick calorie counting books and at times even a laptop computer where I could log on to to add that bite of chocolate chip cookie into my daily journal. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

It’s all gone now. The laptop stays home, the thick books that weighed down my purse are tucked onto a shelf, and while I still carry a notebook for other important things, I no longer have to stop what I’m doing to make sure I write down what I’ve eaten before I forget.

If it sounds a bit compulsive, I admit there are many days I don’t write down every single bite that goes into my mouth. But because a proper diet is so important to a healthy life, we should try to maintain healthy eating habits. We are, after all, what we eat. By keeping a food journal, we can look back at the day or even the week and see where mistakes were made and how we can improve.

MyNetDiary isn’t the only healthy living app out there, but it is the one I chose after a brief Internet search. Some diet apps are exclusively for either iPhone or Android markets while others have versions to accommodate either one. A few of these include DailyBurn, Lose It! and Weight Watchers. You can get apps for low GI diets and, from what I’ve read, DailyBurn can calculate your calories just by taking a photo of your plate. How that works is beyond my tech knowledge.

MyNetDiary wasn’t free. I paid $3.99 for the Android version, but so far it has been very helpful in keeping me on track. The database contains more than 100,000 foods or you can add your own, including recipes and commonly eaten meals for one-click logging.

My favorite feature is how the program works with the barcode app. It saves a few steps by allowing us to scan the barcode on a package of granola bars, touch the serving size and add the calories and description to the daily log. It also saves time and time is what often throws many people off track when they have to drag out the notebook, look up the calories for each item, write it all down and do the calculations.

MyNetDiary calculates your weight, height and activity level, gives an estimation of how many calories are needed each day to maintain, lose or even gain weight if that is the case and allows you to set a goal to accomplish your plan. It also logs calories burned with exercise, medicines and vitamins taken, water intake and nutritional information for those who monitor sodium, sugar, carbs, fat or protein.

I’m sure that other diet apps do pretty much the same and I’m not encouraging anyone to purchase or use one app over another. This is just what I am using and you can choose whichever is best for you.

With smartphones becoming more and more popular, easier to acquire and more user friendly, it makes sense to use these technologies to our advantage in our daily lives.


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