We reveal the top diet trackers to help you slim
Getting and staying on the weight-loss wagon can seem like an uphill struggle, especially without any outside support. Aside from recruiting a personal trainer and nutritionist, diet apps can be the ultimate motivational tool to shed those unwanted pounds. And we’ve found the top ones for you. Read our Reviews: slimming apps to find the one that will help you get back in shape.
According to Dr Goutham Rao, from NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston, Illinois, ‘The number one mechanism through which people lose weight is self-monitoring – watching what you eat and keeping a record of it.’
So we’ve tried and tested the top diet apps, which track your calories consumed and burned, to see whether they can help you eat more healthily, exercise more effectively and ultimately lose weight more easily.
LOW GI DIET TRACKER (£2.99, iPhone)
BEST BITS: Input each meal using their food database to reveal the glycaemic index and glycaemic load (the affect it will have on your blood sugar). A total GI and GL are gien for the day and each meal, and it uses a clear traffic-light system to indicate whether food has high, medium or low measures – very hand to instantly see what’s tipping the scales. Plus, it shows the proportion of carbs, protein and fat in your daily diet, which is useful.
DOWNSIDES: The food database wasn’t that broad, but I got around this by inputting each component of my meals separately. Fiddly, but it works.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Research the concept of GI and GL – knowing which foods to avoid before you start will give you better results.
RESULTS: Our tester says: ‘I tend to think before I eat now, and because my sugar intake has decreased, my tummy looks flatter.’
BEST FOR: CONTROLLING HUNGER
MYNETDIARY CALORIE COUNTER PRO (From £2.99, iPhone/ Android)
BEST BITS: It provides a personal calorie plan – taking age, weight and lifestyle into account – calculating my daily limit to reach my goal weight. Seeing the calories burned off through exercise has motivated me to work harder in the gym.
DOWNSIDES: The layouts are a little less user friendly than similar apps, such as My Fitness Pal.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Be realistic with your weight loss goal or you’ll never stick to it – and you’ll miss that brilliant feeling when you hit your daily target. Also be honest – there’s no point missing off that extra glass of wine, as the calories will add up regardless.
RESULTS: Our tester says: ‘I’ve upped my workouts and I’m more snack conscious. I’ve lost 2lb in a week.’
BEST FOR: LAZY DIETERS
MY FITNESS PAL (Free, iPhone/ Android)
BEST BITS: It’s easy to search for items on the ‘largest food database’ and you can update throughout the day to review remaining calories. You can also input exercise to burn off calories. Plus, there’s a chart which reveals if you’re meeting your nutritional goals.
DOWNSIDES: It’s harder to input homemade meals than shop-bought food. But once you’ve input a meal you can save it for next time.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Sync with other activity apps, such as Fitbit Tracker and Map My Run for an accurate calorie burn. Search the database before you buy lunch to find the healthiest choice.
RESULTS: Our tester says: ‘I watch what I eat now. I’ve lost 5lb in three weeks and have more energy.’
BEST FOR: BEGINNERS
WEIGHT WATCHERS (Free, iPhone/ Android)
It has all the info you get from the Online ProPoints tracker, it reminds you when it’s time to weigh yourself, and even has a live chat feature to talk to experts. The database has loads of products and restaurants, but if you can’t find something there’s a handy ProPoints calculator.
DOWNSIDES: You need to be a member of Weight Watchers, but it’s worth it for the info and support.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Sync with your activity tracker to earn extra points. It worked with my Jawbone Up.
RESULTS: Our tester says: ‘After my first week back on the plan I was pleased to lose 3lb.’
BEST FOR: WEIGHT WATCHERS REGULARS
MY DIET COACH (Free, iPhone/ Android)
BEST BITS: This quirky app monitors calorie intake, exercise and weight loss using motivational goals, tips and pictures to change bad habits for good. The graphics are fun, as you create your own inspiring slim-line avatar on the home page.
DOWNSIDES: Serious fitness fanatics may find the graphics, though fun, start to seem a little childish after a while.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Upgrade to the £2.29 version and get lots of extras. The most useful is the ‘panic button’, where you can tell the app if you’re about to slip up. it asks you to reassess the situation in five or 10 minutes and offers distracting tips to help you avoid temptation. Very handy indeed.
RESULTS: Our tester says: ‘The app highlighted the shocking truth: it’s my poor diet at the weekends that’s to blame for my weight gain – I managed to notch up a huge 2,800 calories one Saturday! However, because I’m now more aware of what I’m eating, I lost 2lb in the first week.’
BEST FOR: BEATING BAD HABITS