Do We Really Need Another Weight Loss App?

MyFitnessPal. Lose It. Fooducate.  The list goes on and on.  The market is reaching saturation with weight loss and exercise apps and now there’s one more that claims to be superior to the other smartphone trackers.

My Meal Mate is the first free weight loss app developed by nutrition scientists that uses scientific evidence based on a piloted weight loss clinical trial.  The app developers are excited about the trial that found users of their app had better weight loss results than the other volunteers in the study.

The study was conducted at the University of Leed’s from grant money provided by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research.  For the study researchers recruited 182 overweight volunteers and divided them into three groups.  Each group relied on a different method of food tracking:  One group relied on the My Meal Mate, one on an on-line food tracker, and one kept a handwritten food diary.

Smartphone

Flickr photo by Digitpedia

 

Clinical Trial Results

At the end of the six month trial, researchers evaluated the participants’ weight and compliance with their assigned weight loss tools.  The volunteers that relied on the on-line tracker and handwritten diary made entries about once a week.  The My Meal Mate users used the app on an average of every other day.

As far as weight loss, those using the on-line tracker lost an average of 3 pounds, those using the handwritten diary lost about 6.5 pounds, and the My Meal Mate users lost an average of 10 pounds.

Reserachers believe that the volunteers that used My Meal Mate were most successful because the app contains a large national food database called Weight Loss Resources that provides calorie and nutrition information on any foods that UK residents are likely to encounter. The app also has a feature that allows you to take photographs that can be used as memory prompts, as well as an option for text message prompts.

The best part is it’s free.  The developers say they know how difficult weight loss can be and they really just want to help and have no need to make money from selling the app or selling advertising. The My Meal Mate can be downloaded at the Google Play store.

Do We Need One More App? 

Phone apps can be a good tool for people that are trying to lose weight and can teach them about the calories and nutrition in a variety of foods.  They can save people from making bad choices when they are dining out or on the road and have to hit up the fast food stand.  Seeing those calories add up throughout the day can prevent overeating and support better food choices.

How much better is one app over the next?  That depends on the user.  There’s still plenty of room in the market for something new.  The ultimate goal is to use the app – whichever one you select – as a tool that initiates positive behavior change that will last even after the infatuation with the app is gone.

What’s your favorite phone app for nutrition or fitness?

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Comments

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