Why should I log my food if I already eat healthy?

When choosing healthy foods, it’s still possible to eat too many calories. Even healthy overeating can result in weight gain. Portion control and tracking calories are important no matter how healthy your food choices are.

Logging calories is educational and eye-opening. As you log, you start to pay attention to how many calories are actually in your favorite foods. You also learn to recognize serving sizes.

I recommend disciplining yourself to use a food log for at least one week. You will gain insight on proper serving sizes and the correct amount of calories.

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

If you already eat healthy, occasionally keeping a food log can help in several ways.

Even healthy eaters gain weight from time to time.  Using a food log can help you nip weight gain in the bud. In one study, participants who kept a food journal lost double the weight of those who did not. Here are several other ways it can help.

  • Provide accountability.  You may think twice about what you eat if you have to write it down.
  • Help you pinpoint how your mood affects what you eat.
  • Help you identify food triggers.  Do you eat when you’re not hungry? Are there certain people or places that encourage you to overeat?
  • Expose additional calories throughout the day.
  • Bring to light any missing food groups or important nutrients.
Even if you eat healthy, logging your food will help you to see what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat, all of which can help control, manage and fit your nutrition program to your specific needs.

Logging food can be beneficial for everyone.  Even if you eat healthfully, a food log can serve as a check to make sure you are eating the right amounts of calories, fat, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber.  You may be eating very healthful foods and making good food choices, but your intakes might fall outside of the USDA guidelines.  For example, you may be eating too much fat as a percentage of total calories, or too little protein.

Logging your food also helps you to gauge serving sizes, which can be a lot different than expected.   Having to measure your food in order to enter in into a food log can be very educational.  I personally have learned a lot from keeping a food log, and I keep learning new things because I am more careful reading food labels and checking portion sizes.  Keeping a food log can take some time, especially in the beginning, but it gets easier over time and I find the benefits well worth it!

I am going to keep my answer short to let my other fitness professionals answer this as well but the biggest reasons in my opinion are below.  I know I am forgetting a few so help me out fit pros!  :)

  1. Awareness - If you are eating the right foods but you are unsure how many calories you are taking it, it can be the biggest factor in your weight and body fat.  By logging your food you are having a very accurate measure of the number of calories and ratio of macronutrients.  If you want to make changes in your physique you first have to know where you are so you know what changes need to happen to get to where you want to be.
  2. Underestimation - Most americans underestimate how many calories they take in a day.  I have met very few people that take in less or the amount of calories that they think they do.  And if people have no idea how many calories they are taking in then logging their food can really be an eye opener to what they are currently doing.  Most people take in much more food than what they think and logging is the only way to know exactly what your consumption currently is.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.