July 8th, 2008


Weight Management using a Food Diary

I just heard on NPR that a new Kaiser Permanente study has found that people who keep a food diary loose more weight, and keep the weight off better than people who don't. It was a pretty good sized study, and the people all received the same diet counseling and assistance, only some kept a food diary and some did not. The ones who did lost the most weight, and also were able to stabilize at their new weight. Part of the program was calculating caloric intake based on the diary, and sharing the diary with others in the group. The ones who did not keep a food diary lost less weight and were more likely to pile the pounds back on.

I suppose that this highlights something very fundamental about the way we eat. We eat what we want, not really knowing if it is good for us or not, just doing so out of habit or convenience. If we take the time to record exactly what we take in, and to understand the implications of that intake in terms of calories and nutrition, we are educating ourselves about the value of our food. That education is a permanent change. Once a person grasps how many calories they take in with soda pop or french fries, and how nutritionally empty those calories are, they will naturally begin to choose other foods out of self interest.