If your diet isn't working, you might want to try food logging. Tracking every bite is a proven way to get results.
One study found that folks who maintained a food journal lost double the weight as non-journaling controls.[*] No special diet was required—just the logging practice.
Weight loss is just the beginning. A food tracking system helps you avoid micronutrient deficiencies, identify food sensitivities, and get enough protein to stay strong.
This article will cover the benefits and practice of food logging so you can deploy this powerful strategy to improve health. But first, let's answer a question.
Do You Need to Log Foods?
You don't need to log foods to be healthy. You can lose weight, build strength, and keep your physiology tuned up without a food-tracking system.
One alternative to food tracking is intuitive eating. When you practice intuitive eating, you eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.
This strategy works for some people. It likely works best if:
- You're highly disciplined about your eating habits
- You consume a nutrient-dense diet that checks all the macro and micronutrient boxes
Many people won't notch both criteria. If you're unsure if you do, it's wise to learn to keep track of what you eat.
Don't worry; food logging doesn't require much commitment. A few days of tracking gives you valuable information about your caloric intake, micronutrient status, macro ratios, and more.
A few weeks of food logging gets you even more. You develop a deep intuition for the flow of nutrients in and out of your body.
At this point, you could stop tracking foods and still reap the benefits. The process would be hardwired.
Or you could keep logging since it only takes a few moments per day. This is time well spent if you're charging toward a specific health goal.
Why Food Logging Works
Food logging works because what gets measured gets managed. There's a boatload of truth in this old business saying.
To steer a company to success, you can't ignore the profit and loss statement, marketing data, sales data, etc. Businesses that wing it don't last long.
And to improve your health, you can't ignore the data from your diet. This data gives you insight into what to do next.
But the benefits reach beyond insight. Merely tabulating food data gives you a boost of motivation and accountability.
It motivates by signaling to your brain that diet is a priority. Food logging is a concrete action that shapes your identity as a healthy eater.
Also, logging every nibble makes you less likely to grab a spoon and demolish a pint of ice cream. You're accountable to your food logging system, which makes you accountable to your health.
Benefits of Food Logging
Food logging is a small-commitment practice with big benefits. Here are four to noodle on.
#1: Makes weight loss easier
A 2008 study with 1700 participants found that the best predictors of weight loss were[*]:
- The number of support sessions attended
- The frequency of food logging
As you'll recall, food loggers doubled their weight loss compared to non-loggers. Wouldn't you like to double your results?
But you don't need to learn how to journal for weight loss. Logging with an app like Carb Manager will do the trick while saving a few trees in the process.
#2: Illuminates micronutrient needs
Even the healthiest eaters may be short on one or another micronutrient. Over time, these vitamin and mineral deficiencies increase the risk of chronic disease and disability.[*]
Food logging prevents that from happening. It gives you the data you need to optimize your micronutrient status.
For instance, logging foods with Carb Manager Premium can calculate your intake of 22 essential vitamins and minerals. With this info in hand, you can modify your diet and supplement routine accordingly and rest easy knowing you've taken care of business.
#3: Helps with macro tracking
Food logging is how you find out. Any good food logging app should know how to calculate macros from food.
Food tracking forces you to be honest about your protein status. Your body will thank you.
#4: Identifies food intolerances
Linking food intolerance symptoms to specific foods requires hard detective work, especially when the symptoms arise hours or days after the meal.
The sleuthing gets easier when you can reference what you ate in the last three days. Over time, you start to see patterns.
Food Logging with Carb Manager
You don't need an app to track your nutrition intake. A food diary gets you motivation and accountability benefits, plus it can be nice to put quill to parchment like a 14th-century scribe.
But leveraging technology will boost your benefit yield. For detailed calorie, macro, and micro tracking, use an app with a massive nutritional database and a user-friendly interface.
Carb Manager is here for you. There are four main ways to log foods in the app:
- Type it in. Carb Manager auto-fills the food, Google-style. You can also create custom meals for one-click logging.
- Scan a barcode. Log foods by scanning a UPC or EAN barcode from a food label when using the Carb Manager mobile app.
- Voice logging. "1 medium avocado, 1 cup of raw spinach, and 6 ounces of chicken breast."
- Picture logging. Yes, you can log your meals by snapping a photo. No, we did not steal this technology from aliens.
To learn more about food logging with Carb Manager, check out this helpful guide, complete with an instructional video.
Put Yourself In The Top 10%
Whether you use an app, journal, or hire a personal food-tracking butler, give food logging a shot. This practice alone will put you in the top 10% of healthy eaters. That's a good deal for a few moments of your time each day.