How Cronometer changed my nutrition practice (and can change yours too!)

I’m Susan Macfarlane and I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist running a busy private practice in Canada’s capital of Ottawa, Ontario. I’m also a nutrition contributor at Cronometer, where I answer all your nutrition and health-related questions in the forums.

In my practice, I am an expert consultant on vegan and vegetarian diets, and specialize in weight management and eating disorder recovery. As such, I spend much of my day conducting food recalls and analyzing dietary records. Although this provides me with valuable information about my clients’ dietary patterns and nutrient intakes, the process is quite tedious and time-consuming. And despite feeling knowledgeable and competent in my role, it is difficult to determine the dietary adequacy for all essential forty-ish nutrients from memory. Consequently, I often feel as though I only have a snapshot of my clients’ true dietary intake.

 

One-of-a-kind nutrition software

I have dabbled with various nutrition apps in the past, but am usually underwhelmed by the nutrients analyzed and the databases used. On the advice of a friend, I decided to test out Cronometer for a few days using my own diet and was impressed with the results. Not only did Cronometer accurately predict my calorie and protein requirements, it also looked at essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, alerting me to those that were low in my diet. As a result of this feedback, I started adding almonds to bump up my vitamin E intake, and a tablespoon of hemp seeds to bring my ratio of omega 3 to 6 into the desirable range.

 

How Cronometer can enhance your nutrition practice

Given the benefit I derived from Cronometer, I decided to use the nutrition software in my practice and quickly realized that not only was it saving me time and energy, it was also empowering my clients to make more informed food decisions. Below is a summary of how I am using Cronometer as a dietitian and the ways in which it has added value to my practice.

 

Visual comparison of energy intake relative to energy expenditure

Cronometer uses the Mifflin St. Jeor equation, with relevant activity factors, to predict estimated energy requirements. In addition, there is the option to track daily and weekly calorie expenditure from structured activity through Cronometer’s exercise database derived from the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities.

A visual depiction of energy intake relative to expenditure can be found beneath the food diary, providing a quick, at-a-glance reference of energy balance.

Energy Intake

Comprehensive vitamin and mineral assessment

When my clients come to me, they want to know if they are missing any vitamins or minerals from their diet, and if so, how they can add them in. Using Cronometer, I can determine if my clients are at risk of a nutrient deficiency/excess by comparing their intake of essential nutrients to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Hovering your mouse over a nutrient allows you to take your analysis one step further and see where the nutrient is coming from in your clients’ diets.

Mouse Hover

 

Provides features for special populations

All nutrient targets in Cronometer can be individualized, which is incredibly beneficial when working with clients with unique nutritional requirements. One of my favourite features is the ability to track “Net Carbs” or total carbohydrates minus fibre. This feature has simplified carb counting for my clients with diabetes, helping them to better understand how food influences their blood sugars.

Cronometer also offers the option of tracking as a pregnant or breastfeeding female, with nutrient targets reflecting the increased needs of this population.

 

Monitoring of biometric values

Cronometer allows for the monitoring and evaluation of important anthropometric and biochemical measures that inform you, as the clinician, if your nutrition intervention is achieving its intended goal. Gold members also have the option of tracking additional biometric values that are relevant to their area of practice.

biometric

 

The Professional account takes your practice to the next level

Cronometer recently released their “Pro Account”, which has been a game-changer in my practice. As a pro member, I can view my clients’ diaries prior to their appointment, generate detailed nutrition reports, and share recipes and foods that I have created in my own diary. Additionally, I have the option of creating accounts that only I can see, which I use for my clients with eating disorders to track their weight progress, biochemical values, and dietary intake.

Your pro account also gives you access to the professional database where you can advertise your services, skills, and areas of expertise to prospective clientele.

Pro Nutrition Practice Directory

 

Cronometer empowers your clients

By far the greatest benefit I have seen since using Cronometer in my practice is the change in my clients’ eating habits. Knowledge truly is power and my clients report that Cronometer has been an asset in helping them lose weight and improve the quality of their diets.

If you’d like to learn more about my practice and how I use Cronometer, get in touch with me through my website: www.susanmacfarlanenutrition.com.

Posted in Fitness, General, Health, Longevity, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Report issues with foods

With millions of food products on the global market, keeping our database complete and correct is a big job. We’re working on some major projects to improve our curation abilities, and today we’ve rolled out the first of these improvements. We’re making it easier to report issues with our foods so that our curation staff can review and amend any errors and omissions.

On the web version, if you open a public food in the food editor (on the Foods tab) you can select ‘Report Issue…’ from the food editor action menu:

Report Issue Menu Item

This will bring up a dialog where you can explain the issue and attache photographs of the label as evidence for our curation team to review.

Report Issue Screen

This new feature, along with some great back-end tools to streamline curation tasks, are part of our long term solution to keeping on top of the ever-changing food product landscape.

We’ll be rolling out this feature to our mobile apps in the near future as well.

With the help of our community, we intend to build and maintain the best and most accurate food and nutrition database on the market!

Posted in Development, Nutrition | 8 Comments

Important security announcement regarding the ‘Cloudbleed’ vulnerability.

Last night Google’s security team published details about a security bug in a leading cloud services provider, Cloudflare.

Cloudflare sits between web sites and users to optimize content delivery and provide protection from hackers and DDoS attacks. Cloudflare is used by over 4 million websites, including cronometer.com.

While the practical risk to our users is considered extremely low (1 in every 3.3 million web requests potentially leaked memory from their system), we want to make sure you are aware that there was the potential for your passwords and session tokens to be leaked if you used cronometer while the vulnerability was active (September 22nd, 2016 — February 18th 2017).

As a precaution, we will be invalidating all session tokens generated during this window, which will result in many people getting logged out of the app. It is also advisable to change your cronometer.com password, as well as for any other sites you may have accounts with that were using Cloudflare (Fitbit, Uber, OkCupid, Yelp, and many more).

For more general information on the issue, this TechCrunch article has a good summary.

Again, to be clear, we believe there is practically little to no risk to our customers, and there’s no evidence any of our customers’ sessions were compromised,  but we are taking all necessary precautions. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our support team at support@cronometer.com.

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Cronometer Professional Edition

Cronometer ProWe’re excited to officially announce our new product for health care professionals. The new professional edition is designed for Dieticians, Trainers, Coaches, & Doctors who need to track and manage multiple profiles within cronometer.

Some of the key features:

  • The professional edition includes all of the gold features for both the professional and all of their clients.
  • The professional has access to view and edit all of their client’s data and targets, and can generate reports and share custom foods and recipes with their clients.
  • Our system is HIPAA compliant and suitable for use by health-care practitioners
  • Professionals can create internal profiles or link to a client’s existing cronometer account
Pro

Professionals have a new PRO tab where they can manage their clients

To enroll in our Professional Edition, simply log into your cronometer.com account on the web, click your email in the upper-right of the screen and select ‘Professional Edition…’ from the drop-down menu.

Posted in Development | 16 Comments

Sugar Alcohols, Vitamin D study, and Supplements

Sugar Alcohols

We’ve now added support to track total Sugar Alcohols (polyols) in the carbohydrate breakdown. Please note we only currently have data for this in some of our whole foods database. By default they are not tracked as a target in your diary, but you can enable this on the Profile tab.

GrassrootsHealth Vitamin D Study

You can now join and link to an ongoing long-term study on Vitamin D.  Through them you can order your at-home vitamin D blood test kit and have your vitamin D serum levels measured every 6 months. Linking your cronometer account with their system will allow sharing your diary data with the researchers. They hope to learn more about how your diet, exercise, and supplementation affects your vitamin D serum levels. If you want to enroll, visit the Profile tab in cronometer and enroll in the Sharing section.

Supplements Store

Need dietary supplements like protein powders, workout & recovery supplements, and vitamins? We’ve partnered with strength.com to bring our US customers a supplement store with a great selection of high quality supplements.  Get some great deals and help support cronometer at the same time by ordering through our supplement store.

 

 

Posted in General | 8 Comments

Garmin Support Added

We’ve just rolled out support for garmin devices!

You can now sync your Garmin data (activity, sleep, and heart rate) into cronometer. To link your account, just login to your cronometer.com account and go to the Profile tab. Find the Garmin section at the bottom and click the corresponding button to link and follow the steps to authorize:

Link to Garmin

Happy tracking!

Posted in Development, Fitness, Health | 25 Comments

Device Sync Updates

Just a few small updates today on our device integrations. We’ve added a ‘Export Food Calories’ checkbox to the fitbit sync, which will now export calories eaten to your fitbit account.

We’re now also importing sleep and activity data from withings sync.

We’re working hard on adding Garmin support, and hope to have that out for y’all in July!

Posted in Development, Fitness | 16 Comments

New gold features: printable full reports & oracle updates

We’ve just rolled out some updates for our gold subscribers!

A new ‘Full Report’ section under the Trends tab lets you customize detailed reports for printing that can include your nutrition summary, charts, and diary information. This is a great feature if you need to take a summary of your data to your doctor or dietician.

Full Report Generator

We’ve also improved the nutrient oracle feature. You can now multi-select any group of food categories instead of just one at a time, and in addition we’ve greatly improved the speed of the queries.

Oracle

As always, please email our support team with any questions, bug reports, and feedback.

 

Posted in Development | 24 Comments

Retiring unused Foods & Recipes

If you’re like me, you have a lot of older custom foods and recipes you no longer use. We’ve added an item to the food editor’s menu to ‘Retire’ a custom food. Instead of entirely deleting the food (and all the associated servings that used it), a retired food is not deleted from the system, but will no longer appear in your food lists and searches.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 11.17.36 AM

Your historical data using the retired food or recipe will remain unaffected.

Posted in Development | 5 Comments

Macro Tracking Changes, Ketogenic Mode, & Body Snapshots

Today we have a few changes to the dynamic macronutrients feature. These changes are on the web version only, but will be rolled out in the mobile apps as well in their next updates.

We’ve had the dynamic macronutrient targets feature for a long time, which lets you set and display preferred macronutrient ratio target. However, the macro targets have always been computed off of a fixed calorie target (the yellow bar).

Today, we are changing this to also be dynamically derived from your energy expenditure (calories burned) and your weight goal. This is more in line with what people expect, and the old behaviour has caused a lot of confusion for people.

If you stubbornly prefer it the old way, we can help you override it if you email our support.

ketomodeKetogenic Mode

Ketogenic diets are becoming extremely popular. We’ve added some specific improvements for people following a nutritional ketosis diet.

keto settingsIn the macronutrient settings, if you select the ‘Ketogenic’ option, now, instead of the previous fixed ratios, we dynamically calculate your maximum ketogenic protein and carbohydrate limits based on your lean body mass and exercise levels. Anything remaining, gets assigned to fats. We offer three ketogenic diet presets: Rigorous, Moderate, and Relaxed, as well as an option to choose custom values.

You can now hover your cursor over the macronutrient bars to see the top contributors to that macronutrient in your diary. This is especially helpful on a strict ketogenic diet where it can be critical to figure out what foods might be tipping you over your carbohydrate and protein limits.

In ketogenic mode, we also add some buttons next to the targets for easy logging of blood glucose and ketone measurements.

Body Snapshots

Under the trends tab we have added a new ‘Snapshots’ section where you can upload photos of your body recomposition progress. Each snapshot can store a caption and your body composition for the date of the photograph.

Please let us know what you think, and if you notice any bugs, we’ll be standing by to address them!

For more details on these features, see our User Manual.

Posted in Development | 42 Comments