How a Smartwatch App Can Reliably Track Calories Without Food Journaling

Lumme Health - Weight Loss App - Blog - Calorie Tracking Explained

It turns out that the most popular method of food journaling isn’t the only way to calculate your calories. Passively tracked, bite-based estimates used by LUMME’s smartwatch app are not only scientifically proven, but can actually be more accurate than human-based estimates, even with the aid of calorie information.

How is this possible?

Let’s first take a look at the status quo.

Calorie counting has always been hard to stick with and highly prone to error for two reasons:

  1. The huge burden of journaling everything we eat
  2. Correctly estimating portion sizes


Is calorie tracking useful?

Yes, of course.  It’s a measurement of our energy intake, which directly impacts our weight and health.

Why is there controversy?

The controversy over calorie counting is rooted in the inherent difficulty of doing it well. For most people, the burden of food journaling is an exercise in futility. With LUMME, since eating is monitored passively, you can decide exactly how much attention and energy you want to devote to following your patterns.

Why is food journaling/calorie tracking still used?

Food journaling/calorie tracking is a long-standing and critical strategy for behavior change. It raises awareness and provides a critical measurement that can be managed and improved.

“So how does the app know what I’m eating?”

This is a common question that stems from the traditional method of food journaling.

What you eat does matter for good health. And the food choices you make will impact your daily calories, but it’s also true that the primary driver of daily calories comes down to your portion sizes –simply how much you eat.

Chances are, you’re not eating all salad and you’re not eating all cookies. Rather, it’s a combination of various foods, healthy or unhealthy, all of which contribute to your calories and management of your weight.

This volume of food you consume each day can be reliably measured from your bites, something we measure pretty well.  Your bite is your personalized and fixed portion-size of food.

Bite-based algorithms used by LUMME calculate an objective caloric proxy for each bite that you take according to your profile details such as gender, age, height and weight. Provided you’re wearing your smartwatch on your eating hand, LUMME can provide a reliable calorie estimate without any food journaling, simply from the motions of your hand.

What about the energy density of different foods?

The beauty of LUMME’s proven algorithms is that they eliminate the vast majority of the variability in calories associated with what you eat with a single multiple-choice question about your meal type.

Lumme Health - Weight Loss App - Blog - Calorie Tracking Explained - Calorie Slider

When LUMME automatically detects your eating, it records an eating event in a meal diary for you.  For simplicity, LUMME defaults your meal type to a Mix of High and Low Calorie Foods.

If you’re eating mainly Low Calorie Foods (salad, fish, fruit, vegetables) or High Calorie Foods (burgers, pizza, sweets), then using the simple slider in your automated meal diary to select these alternative options will capture the vast majority of the variability in calories associated with what you eat.

What you get is a high-quality and reliable calorie estimate that actually improves over time and eliminates the burden of journaling everything you eat.

Of course, calorie tracking is just the beginning. LUMME’s state-of-the-art technology platform is rooted in decades of illuminating behavioral science to provide actionable understanding of your eating habits, accountability to your goals, and A.I. assistance at just the right times to achieve them.

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