I have been using nutrition apps FOREVER, and before I was using nutrition apps, I had done Weight Watchers. I realized earlier this year that I hate nutrition apps. If you’re anything like me, calorie-counting is a drag, and it’s hard to use nutrition apps for any other purpose. They’re designed to prioritize your calorie count and not, say, to manage your macros (the ratio of carb, protein, and fat intake), or to figure out what the best thing is for you to eat. They leave you to your own devices as far as making healthy choices about what to eat goes. They’re usually just glorified calculators, and I tend to get so wrapped up in the calorie-counting that I start to underfeed myself, and then I feel deprived, and then I overeat, and nothing ever gets better.
I’ve been doing a (doctor-led!) elimination diet recently, and it’s helped to reduce my bodily pain (it turns out sugar, almonds, and whey make me hurt EVERYWHERE), and as a sort of bonus, I’ve lost a little weight. I kind of want to keep that rolling. I’m getting older, and I’m starting to accumulate joint problems, and I figure if there’s any time to focus on eating right, losing fat, and gaining muscle, it’s now. So I went scouting for a worthy nutrition app to help me and blazed right on past the nutritional TI-86s of prior days.
The upswing of interest in our own health data, as best exemplified by the increasingly widespread use of health monitors like FitBits, has changed the nutrition app game. I found Nutrino, an app that doesn’t just provide you a way to count calories, but takes a profile of what your goals are (which goals include not just “weight loss” or “weight gain” but also lowering body fat and gaining muscle), what foods you can or can’t eat, what foods you do and don’t like, how healthy your heart is, your risk of diabetes, and then actually gives you recipe suggestions from all sorts of great food blogs and websites, helps you to plan ahead, and tracks all of your nutritional data and other metrics like information about your sleep, your mood, your stress level, and your energy level (and physical activity, of course).
When you look at your food diary for the day, Nutrino lets you know how many calories you’ve eaten, but the number is ringed by a chart that shows you what your macronutrient profile is looking like for the day. It places a more prominent aesthetic focus on the macros, and even breaks carbs down into simple carbs and complex carbs, and fats into saturated and other fats.
At the bottom of the food diary, there’s a graphic that says, “Why doesn’t Nutrino emphasize calorie counting?” that directs through to an informational page about the history of calories and the scientific debate about the calories-in-calories-out method of weight maintenance. The author, Nutrino founder Dr. Yaron Hadad, explains that the human body absorbs different nutrients differently – absorbs fat, for example, differently than it absorbs carbohydrates – and besides that, much of the energy we consume is lost through waste rather than being absorbed. For that reason, Nutrino’s developers believe that you can’t treat all calories the same, and the app’s focus is therefore on the type of food you eat and how it helps you in achieving your health goals.
Which, like – mind blown. I’ve never seen a nutrition app that treats food this holistically. I’ve spent the last three months not counting calories and directing my attention, instead, toward whether or not I’m hungry, and toward how the food I’m eating makes me feel. I’m happy that an app exists that can help me not just to lose weight, but to create a whole picture of my health and nutritional needs. I don’t want to count calories, and weight loss ultimately isn’t as important to me as either body recomposition or, way more importantly, just feeling healthy.
It’s fun to use, too – it’s well-designed, it’s simple to navigate, and you get to answer all sorts of questions about yourself that get turned into metrics and data that you can also track in the iPhone Health app (another fun tool: I am loving counting my steps every day). If you’re concerned about your health and how your diet contributes to it, and not just about weight and calories on their own, Nutrino is definitely your app.
You can download Nutrino for iPhone or Android.
Original by: Rebecca Vipond Brink