Keeping an accurate account of everything you eat every day seems like a lot of work, but for some it may be worth the extra effort.
Food journals can be helpful in identifying food allergies and what could be triggering gastrointestinal problems.
Interestingly enough, a number of vegans and vegetarians keep food journals to make sure they’re getting enough protein in their plant-based diets.
Diabetics often keep tabs on their sugar intake, while bodybuilders like to keep track of their daily nutrients and calories.
But for the vast majority who start a food journal the #1 reason to jot down every bite is for help losing weight. The experts say tracking daily food intake and calorie counts is a great way to change your relationship with food for the better.
There are many of tools readily available you can choose that will help yoy keep track of your meals — and they’re much more accurate and a lot more high-tech than pen and paper.
Apps such as MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are popular, as well as wearable monitoring devices such as Jawbone’s UP system.
It’s easy to start a food journal, but most people find it a challenge to keep up with it meal after meal, day after day.
You’d think it might be easier thanks to websites that seem to list the stats of every single thing you could possibly put in your mouth.
But ironically, researchers who have followed food journal participants say their subjects often became overwhelmed by the huge databases with zillions of choices…keeping a food journal eventually became too complicated due to too much – rather than too little – information.
The key, experts say, to being successful at food journaling is accuracy and consistency. They say keeping good tabs on what you eat – no fudging allowed – will quickly show you the difference between needing to eat and enjoying a healthy meal, versus those times when you just wander into the kitchen to grab a snack because you’re bored.
If you’re a woman trying to lose weight you may get the biggest benefit from a food journal. In one study, women who were good at keeping tabs on everything they ate lost on average 13 percent of their beginning weight, compared to about an 8 percent weight loss for women who did not keep an accurate food journal.