Why It's Hard to Track Nutrition

If you have tried to track your food intake, you have probably noticed that it is not an easy thing to do. There are in fact several issues that make nutritional tracking a complicated task.

This quick list will help you better identify and (hopefully) overcome these hurdles.

     
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    • Lack of consistency: Since most nutritional data is recorded manually, it is very challenging to maintain consistent food logs over a long period of time.
    • User bias: When it comes to nutrition, most of the tracking is self-reported, rather than automated. As a result, users can easily underestimate (or overestimate) caloric intake and portions.
    • Inaccuracy of nutritional facts: The number of calories and their breakdown can be hard to estimate. This is especially relevant for restaurant meals and (to a certain extent) home-made food. For instance, unless a restaurant specifies the number of calories in their meals, it is difficult to get an accurate view of this number, especially that the ingredients tend to vary widely from a restaurant to another.
    • Poor interoperability: Like a lot of other wellness data, nutritional logs need to be integrated with other information in order to provide meaningful insights. For instance, your food intake might have a different meaning if you just completed a half-marathon than if you were sedentary for most of the day.

     

    Unless you happen to be a quantified self enthusiast and a software developer / data scientist, it’s hard to keep track of your nutrition.

    Even if you manage to track it consistently, you still have to put your nutrition within a larger context: How does your nutrition relate to your physical activity patterns, your physiology, your sleep or even stress.

     

    One of the ways in which Fitnescity circumvents these hurdles is by relying on a (human) coach to collect and make sense of this data on behalf of the user.

    There are certain things that technology cannot necessarily replace (yet); the power of "human connection" might just be one of them.

     

    What do you think? What problems do you face when tracking nutrition? Are there any best practices you would like to share?