Losing Weight With Your Smartphone

With summer just around the corner many people are gearing up for the nicer weather by trying to get in shape and drop a few pounds. There are over 108 million people in the United States on a diet at any given time.

Thanks to technology, specifically smartphones, recent studies show that when it comes to losing weight some apps may be more effective than traditional diet methods. People are able to keep track of their food and fitness goals, while also logging calorie intake and the amount of minutes spent doing physical activity.

Researchers recruited 128 overweight participants and split them into 3 groups. The first group was asked to track their weight loss progress using a smartphone app called My Meal Mate. The second group used an online food diary and the third group used a paper version of a food diary.

After six months, researchers found that the participants relying on the online diary and the paper diary made entries only once a week. The smarphone app users made entries every other day. Over the six month study period, the app users lost an average of 10 lbs., the paper diary users lost 6.5 lbs. and the website users lost about 3 lbs.

Besides My Meal Mate, here are five other great apps for losing weight.

1. Lose It! – This popular app features a free barcode scanner, a recipe builder, and a comprehensive database of food and activities. Users can add food to the database and track nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Free. Availability: Android and iPhone.

2. MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Fitness Tracker – Reviewed by more than 300,000 people on iTunes and nearly that many in the Android Market, this top app comes with a barcode scanner to see what’s lurking in your favorite packaged foods and help you tally up the calories you eat every day. A database contains more than 750,000 foods. Free. Availability: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone.

3. Fooducate – Fooducate lets you scan the barcode on food products to get a quick health grade from A to F. Tracks your weight but also clues into the nutritional quality of the food you’re buying. Helps you create healthy grocery lists. Free. Availability: iPhone, Android.

4. iTrackBites – This app assigns food scores and points to each food, similar to Weight Watchers. Users can keep a food diary and select foods with an assigned point value from the food database, or enter foods not in the database and receive point values for them. $1.99 for iPhone users and $2.99 for Android users.

5. Endomondo – This app, which offers both a free version and a Pro version for less than $3, can be used for a variety of sports, such as running, cycling, and walking, showing GPS tracking route, distance, duration, and calories burned. On certain handsets, the app also supports integration with built-in music players and Bluetooth heart rate monitors from Polar and Zephyr. Availability: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry.

Which weight loss app is your favorite?

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