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Logging your food is THE most powerful thing you can do to improve your diet & eating habits. Logging your food prevents you from mindless munching. It creates this awareness of everything that you put in your mouth – even if you're journaling your food with a pen & paper. I don't exactly know why it's so powerful – there are a lot of reasons: you become aware of everything that you're eating. Suddenly, you change your eating habits because you don't want to write it down (those 4 hershey's kisses that you scarfed off of your co-worker's desk. Additionally, you gain this awareness of how many calories are in the foods you eat. Whatever reason resonates with you, if you want to drop a few pounds, start journaling your food.
Food journals have been around for ages! I have logged my food on & off (mostly on) for the past 9 years. If I've noticed that a few unwanted pounds have crept on, I just need to start logging my food & pay better attention to my food portions & hunger cues, and I can get rid of them.
Over the years my eating habits have certainly changed, however it all comes down to eating fewer calories than you burn. The only way to do that is to log your food & know how many calories you're burning. If it's not easy to log your food, you're not going to do it, and therefore you're not going to be successful in your health goals. So, it's imperative that these companies make it easy for you to log your food.
So how do the bodybugg and fitbit software applications stack up when it comes to food journaling?
Ease of Use
The interface for food logging in the fitbit is really easy. As you enter your food, a list of matches pops down. Select the desired food, type how much, specify which meal, and click the log food button.
All of your meals appear on the same page, so it's easy to look over your day & add foods on the fly.
Both tools make it easy to add foods to your log, delete foods, and change the quantity of the food. The bodybugg application isolates each meal, so that it's not easy to move & change foods between meals.
Moving/Reusing Common Foods
What I really like about the fitbit food logging tool is that you can mark foods as favorites. Once you indicate that a specific food is a favorite food, it permanently resides in a holding place on the right side of the screen for you to use again in the future.
As your tastes change, you can un-mark a food as a favorite, & it will no longer reside there. I like this because if you've ever tried to log a pork tenderloin or a cut of beef (in any food database), you'll know that you get many more list items than you expected. (Lean, trim, separable fat, etc. Yikes!) Once I've found the one I want to use, I don't want to have to try to find it again.
Another feature that I really like about the fitbit application is that I can move foods from one meal to another very easily (click & drag) in case I accidentally log a food to the wrong meal.
What I don't like about the fitbit food logging tool is that I can't copy from one day into another. I can't do that with the bodybugg either, but at least the bodybugg allows me to say "I ate the same thing I ate yesterday" or the day before, or the day before that…
Food Database Completeness
I'm really not the one to determine the completeness of any food database. I typically prepare all of my meals at home, and don't eat processed foods or foods that have more than a few ingredients. My recipes ingredients are whole foods: fruits, vegetables & lean meats. I don't do semi-homemade.
It's my experience that we all eat about the same 100 foods on a regular basis, and no food database is going to be 100% complete. None have all of your foods in it from the start. You need to add some of your special foods as custom foods to any database. Once you've added your custom foods, then most food logging tools are good until you discover a new lovely food that hasn't made it into the database yet.
I can tell you though that I'm not sure that the fitbit database is correct. There were a number of foods that seemed much higher than what I recalled they should be (1/4 cup of corn logged at 151 Calories!) – and when I checked, in fact they were incorrect.
Adding custom foods to the fitbit application is really easy. You click a link to add your custom food & you just name the food. The process is very similar within the bodybugg application. Easy. IMHO, the fitbit has a narrow margin of advantage here, and it's due to the bodybugg software architecture (a new window pop up takes longer), but also, the fitbit doesn't require that all of the macronutrients (Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates) add up to the total calories of the custom food.
Recipes & Menus
This point is definitely going to have to go to the bodybugg. Although the fitbit allows you to create menus, they aren't the same as recipes. Recipes can be used as menus, but menus can't be used as recipes.
As I mentioned above, I prepare 95% of my own meals. I cook a lot. I use the recipes in the bodybugg frequently for a few different concepts:
- Used as recipes for meals that result in multiple servings: Soups, Stews, & Casseroles.
- Used as foods that I eat in combination of one another – for instance, if I eat a certain salad frequently, instead of logging each of those items in the salad over & over & over again, I create a recipe of the salad & just add the salad to my food log.
The fitbit software only allows me to create menus – which don't have a number of servings. So, if within the fitbit food logging tool, I want to make soup, baked goods, or stuffed chicken breasts, well, I don't know how I would be able to log that.
This point also goes to the bodybugg. Although the bodybugg planning tool is clunky, it's there. With the bodybugg application, I can plan my food for the week, and as the meals go by, I can click the button that says "I ate my plan". It takes a lot of work to set up, but it's there. The fitbit doesn't allow you to log food in the future, or plan meals past today..
Again, this point goes to the bodybugg. The bodybugg allows a user to print out a report of the last 1-4 weeks of food logs. This is useful for the user who need to report to his/her nutritionist. The fitbit doesn't allow that other than printing each individual day.
Round 2 Winner
This round doesn't have a clear winner. The fitbit is quick & easy, but the database isn't completely accurate. Additionally, there are some features in the bodybugg that I really like & use (like recipes, reports & planning) that the fitbit doesn't have available. Neither application allows a user to copy a meal from a previous day & paste it into another meal (I often eat the previous night's leftovers for lunch the next day.)
I'm declaring this round a tie.
|Ease of Use||win|
|Moving/Reusing Common Foods||win|
|Food Database Completeness||tie||tie|
|Recipes & Menus||win|
Overall Food Logging
Next Round bodybugg vs fitbit: Round 3 – Sleep Tracking >>