June 23, 2014
Staying Connected, Staying on Track
by: Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND , The Running Nutritionist ®, Twitter @LegallyLean Did you know you can stay connected to your eating and exercise goals when your coach and sports nutritionist aren’t available? Yes, try a mobile App! Since 2008 there’s an App for everything, from tracking traffic flow to fashion trends and even your eating & exercise habits. How do they work? All you need to do is register at the Apple store or other platforms for free or for a minimal charge and voila! Ready, set, track! On most platforms, you can enter your daily diet, scan grocery food items or look up a specific food item. The program often gives a nutritional score based on the dietary contributions of that food. The question is whether or not one of the lifestyle apps can actually help you reach YOUR personal goals. We all beat to different drummers and what motivates some of us may not inspire us all. Research has shown that information on its own typically has little impact on changing behaviors. Most of us are inundated with too much information anyway whether from the media, internet, our families and coworkers. Doesn’t everyone, licensed or not have an opinion about what your diet, exercise and lifestyle? I do believe mobile Apps CAN be VERY helpful if it is used in conjunction with a live nutrition expert or your personal coach who has already provided you with guidelines on what you need to do to meet your goals. Apps can help you to compare the information you retrieve from the App to your daily needs. Apps are also very useful when you get objective feedback on the data retrieved since many of the apps have their own grading system which may or may not have anything to do with YOUR goals. And that’s just one of the drawbacks according to sports nutrition experts. Here is some feedback from some top sports nutrition experts on their favorite Apps with a “tweet” about their pros and cons. Dana Angelo White, MS RD ATC, Sports Dietitian/ Asst. Clinical Professor, Quinnipiac University likes “Fooducate” It’s fun, user-friendly, & attaches a reasonable explanation for each food “grade.” She says it’s not a perfect grading system for all foods at all times citing “it will give a bad/low grade to a food or beverage that might be a good choice for certain populations, especially athletes—i.e. Gatorade and Chocolate milk get D+/C- grades. Anna Turner, RD, LD, U Kansas likes “MyFitnessPal for tracking overall food consumption.” Her athletes like the graph that shows their total carbs, pro, & fat ration helps them plan & understand what they are buying in the grocery store”. Marissa Beck, MS, RD, likes “GoodGuide” which uses a bar code scanner (like Fooducate) to reveal health info before deciding to purchase. “The cons include needing a better emphasis on rating healthier products so that they pop up in the recommended lists.” Brooke Pearson, MPH, RDN, LD, of Brilliant Plate, LLC-likes “Shopwell, easy- to- use, can create a profile to meet weight management and or other health concerns/goals & identifies foods with potential allergies for her clients and family. The downside is the weak database of foods.” Regina Hammond, MS, RD, USAT Coach, likes “Foodle” a nutrition facts database from food labels which allows you to sort by category or nutrient list, making it easy to choose foods high or low in nutrients you many need to avoid in your diet like sodium or potassium. You can also create a list of favorite foods, or hide food groups you aren’t interested in. For example, hiding meats and dairy groups if you are vegan. “ Rikki Keen, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, U Alaska, Adjunct Professor; Team Dietitian, UAA Sports Medicine Consultant/Seawolves—likes “Food to the Table,” to plan meals, create a shopping list, store preferences/allergy options and link to local area/stores. Rikki says it seems very helpful for folks trying to get organized and start out a routine for healthy grocery shopping/recipes. So there you have it, the experts have spoken. As for my favorite app? It hasn’t hit the market yet, but stay tuned. In the meantime, try out some of the Apps mentioned above and let me know what you think at Twitter@LegallyLean.