Smartphone apps can help you lose weight

Already the documentation of the diet leads to a weight loss

Even the regular documentation of our diet can help to lose weight. © Kritchanut / iStock
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A simple trick can bring success in losing weight: Even the documentation of the ingested food with an app leads after some time to a measurable weight reduction, as a study shows. The test subjects lost as many pounds as a group that regularly received individual tips and care. This confirms that even the conscious capture of the eaten helps to eat less and to persevere a diet.

Losing excess pounds is a constant struggle. Often dieting and relapses lead to the dreaded yo-yo effect instead of losing weight - and you weigh more afterwards than before. The problem: Those who are already overweight, for whom it is particularly difficult to permanently change his diet and lifestyle and long-term decrease, as studies show. Often those affected do not stay there long enough and everyday eating life creeps in again.

However, there could be a helper against it: For some time there are indications that it is important and helpful to lose weight to record his weight and the food taken. Especially at the beginning this can help to establish new routines and to eat more consciously. There are now a variety of free or cheap smartphone apps that help users log their food intake.

Can a smartphone app help?

"So far, we did not know much about how well these tools work on their own, " says Gary Bennett of Duke University. To find out, he and his team equipped 105 obese subjects with such an app. The 21- to 65-year-old subjects all had the goal of losing at least five percent of their weight in twelve months and were given generic diet tips at the beginning.

A group of subjects was not taken care of and only got the app as a helper. This regularly reminded users to log their food and identified the calorie content of the food using a database. The other two groups also received weekly emails from the researchers with individual feedback and tips for further weight loss. One of these groups additionally recorded their body weight. display

Successful weight loss

After three months, all subjects were called back to the laboratory and their body weight and customer success was examined. The surprising result: Contrary to expectations, the group equipped with the app had lost almost as much as the more intensively supervised: The app subjects had lost an average of 2.4 kilograms, the others about 2.8 kilograms.

Interestingly, in all three groups, those who had best sustained documenting their diet had lost the most, according to the researchers. In their opinion, these results confirm that this tracking already helps to eat more consciously and lose pounds in the long term. "Fixed goals and a smartphone app can lead to significant weight loss, " says Bennett and his colleagues.

Simple tracking helps to hold on

"We now have strong evidence that sustained tracking, especially diet and body weight, is an essential element in successful weight loss." Bennett. "We've shown that even free smartphone apps can be of great help." In the test, the subjects used the app MyFitnessPal, but other apps of this kind are just as helpful researchers.

"Users should look for apps that make tracking easy, " says Bennett's colleague Michele Patel. Especially recommended are apps that regularly remind their users of the tracking and provide appropriate feedback. (Journal of Medical Information Research mHealth and uHealth, 2019; doi: 10.2196 / 12209)

Source: Duke University

- Nadja Podbregar