SparkPeople.com Nutrition Tracker Now Contains 250,000+ Foods

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Plus, real life stories of how food diaries impact weight loss.

In the beginning, tracking my food showed me how many extra calories I was consuming, gave me a way to make meal plans that fit with my nutritional goals, and helped me recognize areas I needed to improve - whether it was business lunches and office goodies or late-night snacking

SparkPeople.com's continually updated online food journal now contains more than 250,000 searchable foods (plus about a million other foods entered by members), which coincides with new research that found that keeping a food diary can double weight loss efforts.

That means that SparkPeople.com, the largest free online weight loss website in the world, now houses the most updated and most used free food diary on the web.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that keeping a food diary can help double weight loss efforts. Though translating clinical research to real life success can be difficult, SparkPeople members have used the nutrition trackers to help them drop up to half their body weight.

Below are the stories of four women who have used a free online food diary and support website, SparkPeople.com, to help them drop between 45 and 100 pounds. Let their stories be a source of inspiration and education about how this simple and proven weight loss approach can tip the scales in your favor.

Cynthia Lopez has lost over 70 pounds in the last year, and she attributes her success to SparkPeople.com's nutrition tracker. This free online tool helps Cynthia keep a running total of the number of calories, grams of fat, protein, carbs, et cetera that she has eaten throughout the day. She uses that information help her make real time decisions about her next meal or snack. "It is amazing to see what one snack can do for your total numbers for the day," commented Cynthia, "I have many times added a snack to my daily tracker just to see what it would do - and then QUICKLY taken it off (and decided not to eat it after all) after seeing the totals. This was definitely a motivating factor!"

Study co-author Vincent J Stevens, PhD., a senior research psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, concluded that food diaries aid weight loss because they paint a realistic picture of how much and how often people are eating. At SparkPeople, the nutrition tracker--which contains well over a hundred thousand foods and restaurant items--also allows users like Cynthia to see the effect that a snack, a glass of wine or a second serving can have, without actually consuming those additional calories. (And it works away from home, too: SparkPeople's nutrition trackers and restaurant food search are available on web-enabled cell phones.)

With SparkPeople's tracker Bonnie Coulehan identified her food weaknesses, eventually losing 70-plus pounds, which she's been able to keep off for more than a year. "In the beginning, tracking my food showed me how many extra calories I was consuming, gave me a way to make meal plans that fit with my nutritional goals, and helped me recognize areas I needed to improve - whether it was business lunches and office goodies or late-night snacking," explained Bonnie.

Keeping a food journal has also benefited Lori McLester. "I absolutely attribute my success in losing weight and keeping off 100 lbs over the past 4 years with tracking my food," she exclaimed. "I've become so good at tracking my food that it takes me maybe 5-7 minutes per day to do so... I swear by SparkPeople's Food Tracker!" Not only did journaling her food help Lori lose a third of her body weight, but she also discovered a food allergy by using her SparkPeople tracker to look back over her food intake on days she fell ill (the culprit was eggplant, which she now happily avoids).

While journaling an evening's meal, Jessie Bedoya of New Jersey, was shocked to find out just how many calories were in a dish of General Tso's Chicken (about 1,100). Armed with this information (and many similar examples), Jessie was able to make consistently better food choices throughout her journey to lose 45 pounds.

These four women are not alone in their weight loss journey; over two million people a month utilize the free tracking tools, support community and health lifestyle information available at SparkPeople.com. This makes SparkPeople.com the largest free online weight loss website in the world. Each day, users track upwards of a quarter of million foods on the website. Take advantage of this proven healthy weight loss approach and sign up for a free account at http://www.SparkPeople.com today.

Members of the press interested in interviewing any of the four members featured in this release, or other successful members should contact Grant Miller at press(at)sparkpeople.com.

About SparkPeople
SparkPeople's mission is to help millions of people be healthy and reach their goals. That's why we offer similar diet and fitness tools and services that people pay for on sites like Weight Watchers and eDiets.com, but for 100% free. Also, those who do not want to lose weight can still use SparkPeople's tools and meet others in our healthy living community. We've seen thousands of people succeed on our program, and find that when they start reaching their health goals that they enjoy their lives and reach even more goals, making their life a true adventure! For more information, log on to (http://www.sparkpeople.com)

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