A recent study assessed whether myfood24 could be useful tool to support weight loss through dietary self-monitoring
Dietary self-management plays an important role in managing weight and has consistently been associated with weight loss. Self-monitoring involves an individual to observe and record their own behaviour which increases their awareness of that behaviour, this can present the opportunity to adjust their behaviour, in this case dietary ones, in order to achieve their weight goal. An important aspect of dietary self-monitoring is the duration and frequency of monitoring. A recent small-scale study aimed to assess whether self-monitoring dietary intake using myfood24 was suitable for individuals wishing to lose weight.
A sample of 25 volunteers who were on a weight loss diet were asked to use myfood24 for 2 weeks to help them track their diet. Participants were asked questions about their weight loss and their experience of using myfood24 to record their food and nutrient intake.
After the 2 week study, all 25 participants had lost weight. On average each participant lost significantly more weight during the 2 weeks of the study, using myfood24, when compared to the 2 weeks prior (mean weight loss: before study = 0.64 kg, during study = 1.17 kg, p=0.001).
In regards to nutrient intake, when comparing intake at day 1 with day 14 of the study, reported calories reduced by an average of 228 kcal per participant, fat and saturated fat intake reduced by 8 g and 3 g per participant, respectively and the total sugar consumed by participants significantly reduced by 26 g (p=0.01) on average.
Frequency of use
Encouragingly 80% of the cohort used myfood24 to record their food and nutrient intake on 6 days or more throughout the 14 day period and half of participants recorded their diet on least 11 days. These findings suggest users found completing myfood24 a useful activity that they would be willing to do frequently.
Usability of myfood24
The highest reported usability score for myfood24 was 97.5/100 and when asked how useful myfood24 was, the highest score given was 9/10. There was also a positive association found between weight loss and the usability score, suggesting that those who found myfood24 the most useful also lost the most weight in the study (R2 = 0.28, P > 0.006).
Comments from participants
The questionnaire included a section for participants to comment on myfood24 and give their feedback, this included:
“I enjoyed taking part in this food plan as it made me aware of what I was consuming daily”
“[myfood24 is] A good system for recording and checking food intake”
“[myfood24 is] An excellent method of controlling the diet”
The study found that during the 2 weeks of using myfood24 to record food and nutrient intake there was also a reduction in calorie, fat, saturated fat and sugar intake and an increase in weight loss, suggesting it could be a useful tool to aid weight loss. As with all small-scale studies, results should be interpreted with caution due to the small numbers of participants involved.
Note: The research was conducted at the University of Leeds as part of a student research project. Those who volunteered in the study were over 18 years old, wanting to lose weight or were on a weight loss diet, not pregnant or breastfeeding and had access to the internet to complete myfood24. Written consent was obtained from all volunteers and they were able to drop out of the study freely at any point. Results from the study have not been published.