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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

USDA Supertracker -Our Third Week of Tracking Nutrition & Physical Activity

My husband and I are on the third week of using the USDA online tool Supertracker to monitor our daily nutrition intake and physical activity.

We have begun to change our eating habits. For example, I am eating more fruit and drinking more milk to get calcium and potassium.
Unsalted unbuttered air popped popcorn has been re-discovered as a whole grain. Meat consumption has decreased. Cocoa powder is not as tasty as the chocolate in store bought chocolate milk. But another source of high fructose corn syrup no longer is in our fridge.

It is a good thing I am using this as a lifestyle tool, not with a goal to lose weight. My weight has stayed the same despite sticking to overall calories and having a great physical activity report. So, although I would like to lose 10 pounds, I will have to look at other factors, as sleep quality.

As noted in a previous post, I am going to be looking into vegan nutrient sources to replace some of my dairy and meat.

Some thoughts on the pros and cons of Supertracker.

Pros

  • One place to go for tracking both nutrition and physical activity
  • Easy to use.  food and activity selections are made by entering a word or phrase and then selecting from the resultant options
  • Throughout the day one can monitor levels of consumed fats, oils, calories, nutrients as well as see how one’s food choices stack against daily food targets.
  • Entered foods can be modified (as portion size) or deleted. This is a great decision making tool, including snack options later in the day.
  • One can opt for calorie allotment based on previous week’s physical activity

Cons

  • Does not include all foods (especially convenience/packaged foods)
  • When entering homemade,  you are probably best off entering ingredients individually.  USDA food options having several ingredients tend to be convenience/packaged which are are high in sodium.
  • Physical activity tracker seems to be a work in progress. For example, the range of weight lifting activities seems to be sparse.
  • Physical activity options are “canned”. They do not allow for individual heart rates.
  • Long range reports can be done for data on individual nutrient levels. However overall long range reports for nutrition are only averages.
  • It does take time to enter one’s data!
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November 14, 2012 - Posted by | Nutrition | , , ,

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