Want to Eat Healthier? Diet Tracking Does the Trick

Download Sharecare and use our diet tracker to improve your health, one meal at a time.

A man uses a food tracker app to take a photo of his dinner. He knows meal trackers help keep his diet on track.

Medically reviewed in October 2021

Updated on March 28, 2022

The food you eat has a major impact on your health. A balanced diet built around nutritious foods—including vegetables and fruit, whole grains and legumes, lean protein sources like fish and healthy fats like olive oil—is associated with greater longevity and a much lower risk of chronic disease.  

Conversely, a poor diet full of foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats contributes to being overweight or obese, as well as increased risk of chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer. 

One of the most effective methods for improving your eating habits and losing weight is using a food tracker like the one included in Sharecare, available for Android and iOS

Why diet tracking works  
It’s been said that success is a series of small decisions made over time. These can be the decisions to do something, or to not do something. If your goal is to lose weight, your small decisions may be things like “eat a smaller lunch each day” or “cook dinner each night instead of eating fast food.” Using a meal tracker allows you to focus on one meal at a time and gives you motivation to keep making these decisions. 

Research has also shown that diet tracking can be a very effective tool for weight loss. In one study of 1,685 overweight people published in 2008 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, participants who kept a detailed daily food journal lost twice as much weight as participants who did not keep a food journal.

Meanwhile, a 2021 analysis published in Obesity looking at 39 studies found that the more closely people tracked their efforts to manage their weight using digital health tools—whether websites, wearable devices, mobile apps, or digital scales—the more weight they tended to lose. Why?

Tracking your diet can help you: 

  • Stick to your diet plan. If you begin to see a direct correlation between your meals and your weight, you’ll probably stick to what works—and ditch what doesn’t. 
  • Better understand portion sizes. Tracking the calories, fat and nutrients in each meal will help you determine healthier portion sizes.  
  • Recognize patterns in your eating habits. Do you eat well throughout the day and then derail your efforts at night? Or overindulge on the weekend? Tracking your meals will help you identify your healthy (and unhealthy) eating habits. 

Ready to get tracking? Sharecare is an easy way to keep track of your eating habits. All you need is your smartphone or desktop computer. Here’s how it works. 

For Android and iOS users: 

  • Diet is tracked manually via the Tracker. Input details about your day’s meals to record how healthy your diet really is. 

For desktop users: 

  • If you don’t have a mobile device, diet can be tracked manually via the desktop Tracker. Input details about your meals to log how healthy your diet is. 

The information you track becomes part of an overall snapshot of your health that takes into account other factors such as fitness, sleep, stress, weight, and more.

Article sources open article sources

Hollis JF, Gullion CM, Stevens VJ, et al. Weight loss during the intensive intervention phase of the weight-loss maintenance trial. Am J Prev Med. 2008;35(2):118-126.
Katherine D. McManus, MS, RD, LDN. Why keep a food diary? Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. January 31, 2019.
Patel ML, Wakayama LN, Bennett GG. Self-Monitoring via Digital Health in Weight Loss Interventions: A Systematic Review Among Adults with Overweight or Obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2021;29(3):478-499.

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