Food Diary

Food diaries are records of everything that you eat in a day and can be simple or complex. It is not unusual for an RD to ask you to bring in a three day food diary to your first appointment so the assessment can include an overall view of what the current diet looks like. Then, typically, the patient is asked to keep a record of the daily food intake with corresponding values for calories,protein, fat, carbohydrate and fiber so patients can learn how to balance their food intake to achieve the optimal intake of nutrients and decrease intake of nutrients that are too high. The record also is reviewed at follow-up appointments with the RD where suggestions are made on ways to improve intake so nutritional goals are achieved.


A recent study looked at the effect of keeping a food diary and the amount of weight loss relative to the record keeping. According to the Kaiser Permanente Study, keeping the food diary doubled weight loss over the course of the study and the more food records people kept, the more weight they lost. The study looked at 1,700 participants who were instructed to follow the DASH diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. Weekly group sessions and exercise for 30 minutes per day were encouraged.


The authors concluded that keeping a record of what you eat makes you more aware of what you are eating and where your bad habits are. Food journaling in conjunction with a good weight management program is a great combination of tools and support.

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