Weight-Loss Software > Diet Diary
How to Choose a Diet Diary
By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*
Over the past few decades, weight-loss researchers have conducted dozens of studies on diet diaries. In almost every case, diet diaries prove to be one of the most effective tools for weight loss. That's because a diet diary exploits this simple truth: If you can see what any food will do to your weight and nutrient balance, you will naturally make better choices. (My company has a trademarked expression for this: "Eat With Your Eyes Open™.")
Since 1988, when I started DietPower, Inc., I've tested hundreds of diet diaries. I like my own company's best, of course. But you won't go wrong with another if it meets these criteria:
Rule out any diet diary...
...that doesn't calculate a calorie budget within 5 percent of the figure you get from the DietPower calorie budget calculator. Otherwise, the diary is likely to be inaccurate in other respects.
At Least 20,000 Foods in the Diet Diary
In an average supermarket these days, you'll find 30,000 foods. You don't need that many in your diet diary, because most people eat only 100 to 200 foods, over and over again. But a 20,000-food database is likely to contain most of the foods you eat. And if your diet diary lets you add your own foods by entering data from their labels, you should be well covered.
12 or More Nutrients in the Diet Diary
At the very least, your diet diary should monitor calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Better yet, it should also include potassium, folic acid, zinc, selenium, vitamins D and E, water, and alcohol. All of these are important to disease prevention, as well as athletic and mental performance.
Does the Diet Diary Give Advice?
Besides showing you what's in your foods, a good diet diary will recommend foods that improve your nutrition. It should also award extra calories for exercise, as well as providing an overall grade that indicates how well you're doing. The best diet diaries can even tweak your calorie budget to cancel fluctuations in your metabolism, which they sense by continually comparing your weight change with your eating history.
Is the Diet Diary Guaranteed?
My diet diary, called DietPowerŽ, used to offer a one-year guarantee -- but today the program is free. Many other companies provide a 30- or 90-day guarantee, although some refund only the base price or subtract a "restocking" fee.
Companies who make no guarantee are, unfortunately, plentiful. Avoid them.
*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist and consumer advocate who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading maker of nutrition and weight-loss software.