sports nutrition · weight loss

Nature doesn’t have a bar code

In Stone Soup’s 6 Reasons to NOT Count Calories there’s one that really resonates for me:. Writes Stone Soup, “Counting calories encourages you to eat packaged processed food: I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned her teenage daughter has become very interested in nutrition and has started to keep an eye on her calories. But the sad part is she’s noticed that her daughter is more likely to choose food out of a packet than something fresh because she can easily tell how many calories she’s getting from the pack.”

I first noticed this same thing when I started using My Fitness Pal for tracking.

The mobile phone app comes with a nifty bar code scanner for adding foods to your diary. It’s fun just picking up the box or package your food comes in, scanning it with your phone’s camera, and then gleaning the relevant info. But note the words “box” and “package.” It then starts to seem burdensome to log real food. Hey, apple, where’s your bar code? Okay, apples aren’t that bad. But homemade casseroles with multiple ingredients? Tricky stuff.

Generally speaking, I’m a big fan of tracking. And I’m a data geek about fitness. I like my games. I’m not in principle adverse to counting calories. I find it challenging to match my needs for adequate energy and nutrition  without paying some attention to the details of what I’m eating.


2 thoughts on “Nature doesn’t have a bar code

  1. This post is spot on! I have diabetes and need to track nutritional information to manage it. It’s better for me to eat fresh, homemade food but trying to accurately calculate the nutritional content is nearly impossible! I end up guessimating it.

  2. I love MyFitnessPal, but I know a lot of people that have the same problem you mention. I did have to buy a scale. Mostly I just try to get things fairly close, and wing it from there. It would be nice to know I was perfectly on all the time, but reality is always a little fuzzy.

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