What's in that food? The SuperTracker knows

By Nancy Shute, NPR

January is a giddy time for weight-loss companies, which usually rake in profits as New Year’s resolutions shuttle earnest dieters to their doors. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would like to get in on the action, too. Not the money, mind you. The feds want us to use their new online food-and-exercise tracker, SuperTracker.

Tracking is a concept known all too well to anybody who has ever been on a diet. Write down what you eat, and you’ll eat less, or at least eat healthier, the thinking goes. Research has shown that tracking does help people lose pounds and keep them off.

And in the past few years weight-loss companies like WeightWatchers and Jenny Craig have rolled out interactive trackers and apps that make this tedious task a bit simpler. But you’ve got to join, and pay, to use those trackers. The government is offering up SuperTracker for free.

SuperTracker launched on Dec. 22, when most of us were not regulating what we ate at all. But it has already logged 9 million visits. It offers three main features: a database of nutritional information for food; a diary for tracking daily consumption; and a physical activity tracker.

That’s not so different than many free food trackers already online. But SuperTracker’s big bonus may be the Food-A-Pedia, with nutritional information on more than 8,000 foods. The data comes not from manufacturers, but from chemical analyses by the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service.

For the full story, click here.

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