Best diet apps for smartphones 2013
If you are planning on losing some weight, don’t ignore what is perhaps the most important tool you have which can help you to achieve your target: your mobile phone.
With the right app, your mobile can can become your nutritionist, calorie counter, exercise coach and personal shopper. Have a look at the growing range of diet and exercise apps, many of which are free.
That constant reminder that you are trying to shed weight could be all the encouragement you need to help you to succeed.
Our pick of the best current diet apps:
My Meal Mate is available from the NHS Choices website and allows users to monitor food intake and exercise and count calories through an extensive food database. It offers support through a weekly text message charting progress towards the target weight.
A different sort of app which is equally useful for those energetic dieters who understand the importance of an exercise regime, is the Endomondo Sports Tracker, available for Android, iPhone and Blackberry.
Joggers and cyclists can take advantage of their phone’s built-in GPS, and this app will record the route taken, lap times and history. The paid upgrade makes use of heart-rate sensor and pedometer data and allows users to self-righteously brag about their exertions and achievements via Facebook and Twitter.
Weight Watchers have produced their own smartphone app which follows the principles of both the Weight Watchers groups and the website but has the added advantage of being always accessible.
Users can keep careful track of everything they eat as well as calculating ProPoints according to the nutritional value of the food consumed. Not only can weight change be observed by stepping on the bathroom scales; this app charts progress by creating different sorts of graph and records all the milestones achieved.
A clever feature is the inclusion of healthy recipes: all the user needs to do is tap the screen to add the ingredients required to a shopping list.
Could a dieting app really help you lose more weight?
Research published in the Journal of Internet Medical Research which was conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Leeds compared the progress of three groups of dieters: the first group used the My Meal Mate app (available from NHS choices) to chart their calorie intake and exercise; the second group used an online diary for the same purpose; and the third group used a traditional paper food diary.
After six months the researchers compared the weight loss of all participants as well as how they used their allocated weight-loss tool. Those using the smartphone app lost an average 10lb and used the app every day. Participants allocated the paper diary lost 6.5lb compared with users of the online food diary, who lost just 3lbs.
Why your mobile is harder to ignore when setting a goal
Interestingly the two groups of diary users accessed that tool only once a week. The very fact fact that most of us are inseparable from our mobile phones makes diet apps particularly effective.
Every time mobile dieters check their phones, they will see the diet app icon, which means their diet remains at the forefront of their minds. Those who need to access a website or dig out a paper food diary have no such constant reminder, and temptation becomes more difficult to resist.
Vote for your favourite…
Let us know your favourite apps in the comments section below!