Sorry Dr. Pasinski, but I disagree. According to your Huffington Post article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marie-pasinski-md/apps-brain-health_b_1585412.html), you think that MyFitnessPal is one of the smartest apps out there, but I beg to differ. Yes, the UI and user experience is great. Yes, the social networking feature is nice and the barcodes for scanning foods are pretty neat. So what is wrong? My distaste has nothing to do with the technology, but a fundamental approach to calorie counting as a diet and weight management technique. Here’s why:
1. Calorie counting does not ensure proper meal structure. Regardless of my calorie cap, counting puts no structure on how I consume my calories: it does not ensure that I eat three proper meals, or if I eat snacks, that they are healthful. It just puts a ceiling on overall consumption.
2. It does not encourage a healthful approach to eating. Calorie counting makes no distinction between healthy foods and unhealthy foods. Sure, it is much easier to stay within your boundaries by eating healthy foods, but someone with a large amount of discipline could very well have a cupcake (or no meals) and then light or no meals (or binge) at different junctures throughout the day. This is not a healthy way of eating.
3. They do very little to educate users about permanent, lasting dietary changes. I can easily survive on 1500 calories for a restricted period of time, but certainly not forever. How do I maintain my weight? What foods do I eat to do that? Are certain foods better than others? There is a gap here that the app does not accommodate.
Lasting changes are only made through permanent behavioral shifts in consumption and I do not believe that calorie counting is the answer. Invest in yourself—make a lasting change!