That Which is Measured

The foods that we consume are literally woven into the flesh of our being through the process of digestion, so understanding what we put into our bodies is one way of getting a handle on our overall health. Although a fan of old-fashioned pen and paper documentation, I’m pleased by the current crop of online databases which make it relatively simple to track what we eat, sometimes down to the nutrient microgram.

The USDA’s SuperTracker is a powerful program that enables you to follow not merely calorie counts or macronutrient distribution but also gives you insight into the vitamin and mineral content of your food. As a bonus, the information contained comes from (mostly) valid and reliable sources: registered dietitians and other scientists working for the United States government.

According to Consumer Reports, the 3 sites listed below provide the best free smartphone/e-reader/tablet applications. While I can’t comment on their ability to drill down into the nitty-gritty of  micronutrient tracking, I applaud their “restaurant” sections as so many of us eat a substantial quantity of our meals away from home.

Sparkpeople is a broad-based free-to-join website that includes not just food tracking but provides exercise guidance and forums for both accountability and moral support.

LoseIt! has a simplified interface and looks promising, whereas Calorie Count has been vetted by the likes of Tech Crunch and PC Magazine.

All of these tools take some getting used to, but once you’ve learned how to navigate their systems entering information and reading reports becomes quicker and easier. So take a moment to find out what you’re REALLY made of. Your body will thank you in the long run.

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