In a new study, researchers found simply tracking what you eat with a free smartphone app could help you lose a lot of body weight.
People can achieve it without eating a particular weight loss diet.
The research was conducted by researchers from Duke University and Stanford University.
Previous studies have shown that many people use food tracking apps in their daily life to assist in weight loss.
However, it is unknown whether these tools worked very well on their own until now.
In the current study, the team wanted to find an easy way for weight loss, in which people could join from the comfort of their home.
They wanted to know how much weight people would lose with this type of remote treatment.
The team examined 105 participants, who were between 21 and 65 years old.
All people used a free app to record their food intake and weight.
One group tracked what they ate every day for three months.
A second group tracked their weight for a month and then began logging food intake as well. They also received emails with tailored feedback, weekly lessons, and action plans.
A third group recorded both their weight and food intake for all three months. They also received weekly lessons, action plans, and feedback.
The researchers found all three groups had lost lots of weight after three months.
The first group lost about 5 pounds on average. The second group lost about 6 pounds on average.
The third group also lost about 6 pounds, but they kept the weight off longer.
The team found at six months, people in this group lost nearly 7 pounds on average.
The findings suggest that commercial smartphone apps can be a helpful way to help with weight loss.
Since a high-intensity weight-loss treatment is quite expensive, the finding means people could achieve their weight loss using automated, free tools, rather than expensive in-person weight loss interventions.
The finding shows a possible low-cost way for effective weight loss.
The researchers hope free and low-cost weight loss apps can help change the ways that Americans manage their weight.
They also hope their future work can use digital health approaches to help deal with other health conditions.
One author of the study is Gary Bennett, a psychology professor at Duke University.
The study is published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth.
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