Nutrition: The Dangers of Calorie Counting Apps

The Dangers of Calorie Counting Apps

By Hannah Dentry, WAC Dietitian

Apps on our phones are great for streamlining so many tedious processes but when it comes to nourishing our bodies and enjoying our food, streamlining might not be the best!

Inaccurate calories goals

Your body is completely unique! Your calorie counting app doesn’t know you or your metabolism. There is so much more to weight management than counting calories. If we limit our calories to the point where we feel famished and deprived, we will inevitably overeat those foods that we were denying ourselves.

Not all calories are created equal

Calorie counts are generated in labs without consideration for how the body metabolizes different foods. For example, eating a 3,000 calorie diet of fast food would impact your long-term health and weight very differently than a calorie equivalent diet of high quality foods. Paying too much attention to calories may also steer you away from healthy plant-based foods that are both calorie and nutrient dense, and toward processed, low-calorie options.

Damaging our relationship with food

While mindless eating can certainly lead to overindulgence, meticulously tracking everything that you put into your mouth is no way to live. Our relationship with food is a very important aspect of our overall wellness. When we stop enjoying food and start seeing it as the enemy, something as simple as deciding what to have for dinner can become an all-out war with yourself.

Being conscious of what you eat is a great way to manage your weight. Here are a few ideas on how to do this in a way that empowers you to eat the foods you enjoy while still consuming a balanced diet:

  • Check in with your hunger and fullness levels before and after you eat. With enough practice, you will begin to eat when your body tells you to eat and stop when it tells you to stop.
  • Prioritize a colorful balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, healthy fats, lean proteins and whole grains over meeting an exact number of calories per day.
  • If you enjoy the accountability of tracking of your meals, keep a food journal of what kinds of foods you are eating, noticing if you are prioritizing nutrient dense foods.


—Posted October 3, 2018

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