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 | 25 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 | 6 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

What’s Up With Vitamin A?

Targets

What’s up with vitamin A and Cron-O-Meter? I have one lousy small carrot and I am at 278% of my daily requirement for vitamin A. Is that correct? And to add to it all, vitamin A is supposedly toxic at high doses. First, it is correct, and in this blog I will address what is going on and shed some light on what is up with vitamin A.

Carrots, spinach, kale, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus are all excellent sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A will preserve and improve your eyesight and help you fight off viral infections. It is known as the “anti-viral vitamin”. It is also a fat-soluble vitamin and needs fat to dissolve it and transport it within the body. Deficiencies may be caused by a diet that is extremely low in fat.

There are two different types of vitamin A. The first type, preformed vitamin A (retinol), is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, provitamin A (carotenoids), is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.   Preformed vitamin A and provitamin A is where the confusion comes in.

Toxicity can occur with excessive intakes of preformed vitamin A (retinol) and not necessarily with provitamin A (carotenoid) intake. The dosage levels that need to be obtained to cause toxicity are difficult to attain through food alone. Toxicity usually has been associated with prolonged supplement intake over a long period of time.

Symptoms of getting too much preformed vitamin A (retinol) can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, coma, and even death according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Consuming high amounts of provitamin A can turn the skin yellow-orange in color, but this condition is harmless.

In Cron-O-Meter (CM) you can click on “vitamin A” and open a box that displays the daily recommended intakes (DRI), which are CM’s default settings. The range in the picture is for a fifty-year-old male.  These are also editable and you can put any range you desire into them.

Vitamin A

The DRI’s and tolerable upper limits (UL) for preformed vitamin A can be found on the site www.nap.edu.   There are no limits established for provitamin A (carotenoids, beta-carotene).

We get a lot of questions when one carrot reflects 278% of your daily value, but we here at Cron-O-Meter can’t tell you what amount to take or what ranges to use. That decision is left to you and your healthcare team. We hope this blog will help you understand why CM states what it does and what it means allowing you to be better informed and make the decision that is best for your health.

Live well!

Frank Alvarez

www.FranklyNutritious.com

Posted in Fitness, General, Health, Longevity, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Net carbs and total carbs are an option now.

On the diary page below where you put your foods eaten for the day, you will find the calorie summary box. By clicking on the gear icon on the top right of the box, you will get an expanded version of the calorie summary section. At the bottom right you will see the dynamic macronutrient targets area depicted below.

At the very bottom of this section, you will see the option to select ‘Total Carbs” or “Net Carbs”.  This selection will be the carbohydrate percentage format that is depicted on the blue carbohydrate macronutrient bar.

 

Dynamic macronutirent targets

Posted in Development, General, Health, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Dynamic Macronutrient Targets: What They Mean

In this blog we will discuss the new change to Cron-O-Meter, dynamic macronutrient targets and what the targets in the dropdown menu (zone, paleo, ketogenic, LFRV) mean and resources for you to learn more on their specifics.

On the diary page below where you put your foods eaten for the day, you will find the calorie summary box. By clicking on the gear icon on the top right of the box, you will get an expanded version of the calorie summary section. At the bottom right you will see the dynamic macronutrient targets area depicted below.

This area will allow you to select different macronutrient (protein:carb:fat) ratios to follow. The drop down menu has some popular built in ratios that you can select.   Here are what they are and what they designed to do according to the leaders in those areas:

  1. Default: This setting will set your targets to the RDA standards based on your age. Click here for the current RDA table.
  1. Even: This is an even ratio of 1:1:1 (protein:carb:fat) or 33.3% each.
  1. The Zone: The ratios in The Zone are 3:4:3 (30%/40%/30%). The primary ingredients are low-fat protein, colorful carbohydrates rich in polyphenols, and fat that is low in both saturated fat and omega-6 fats. zonediet.com
  1. Paleo: Paleo is the rage now and it is a ratio of 15:20:65. A Paleo dietshould be high in fat, moderate in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Loren Cordain is one of the leading experts on the Paleo Diet. www.thepaleodiet.com It does have some restrictions like no dairy, grains, legumes, refined sugars, and salt.
  1. LFRV: Is a high carb, low fat vegan approach with a 1:8:3 (8%/67%/25%). More can be found here:   http://www.30bananasaday.com/
  1. Low carb/Keto: This diet is a 5:1:5 (45.5%/9%/45.5%) ratio. The ketogenic diet was designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. It has many claims, but also has some cautions. You can learn more at: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/
  1. Custom: Selecting custom will allow you to put whatever ratio combination you desire in the boxes. With this selection the boxes will become active to be edited.

These options we give you need to be considered carefully and with your health practitioners.

At the very bottom of this section, you will see the option to select ‘Total Carbs” or “Net Carbs”.  This selection will be the carbohydrate percentage format that is depicted on the blue carbohydrate macronutrient bar.

Once you have set a target to follow, you can select the top box “show full macronutrient breakdown” and four sets of bars will now be depicted in the calorie summary. Here is what will be added to your view:

Screen shot Calorie summary net:total carbs targets

The top bar is a depiction of your custom energy target for the day (Basal Metabolic Rate, BMR) based on the vitals you set up on the profile page.   You can customize your target calories by clicking this bar. The protein, carbs, and fat targets below will now automatically be adjusted based on BMR and the ratios you have selected in the targets area.

We hope this will help you use Cron-O-Meter more effectively to obtain your desired health goals. The selections in the macronutrient target area are informative and you must be careful on which ratio you desire to use. We strongly urge you to consult a health practitioner to help you choose the target range that best suits your needs and goals.

Please let us know if this post was helpful and if you have any questions. In our next blog I will discuss the “net” and “total” carbs bar in the calorie summary box.

Live well!

Frank

www.FranklyNutritious.com

Posted in General, Health, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Jawbone is here!

We’ve just launched support for Jawbone devices. If you own a Jawbone device you can now sync your Jawbone data to your Cron-O-Meter diary.

To sync, go to the ‘Profile’ tab and scroll to the bottom where there is a section for ‘Devices’:

Click the ‘Link Jawbone Account’ button to authorize cronometer.com to sync with your Jawbone data:

Click ‘Allow’ when prompted by Jawbone, and you will be taken back to your diary where your Jawbone data should start to magically import into your diary:

It’s that easy!

You can purchase compatible Jawbone products here:

jawbone products

 

Posted in Fitness, Health, Longevity, Nutrition, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Dietary Reference Intakes, not enough for you? Here are some options to consider.

In our last blog we talked about the USDA’s verbiage for nutritional information and showed you where in Cron-O-Meter that data is used. We will carry that theme through the next few blogs and show you how to make changes to Cron-O-Meter’s default settings.

Cron-O-Meter uses a host of databases for our food diary. They all do things in different ways and we get a lot of questions in regard to conflicting data in the system. We aren’t a laboratory doing food analysis, but certainly appreciate anyone who is. It has to be a daunting task to create, collect, and distribute this data. Here at Cron-O-Meter we choose carefully which ones we use. It is important to have reliable data in the system for you the user and for us because we use it too!

The databases we use can be found in the foods tab as depicted in the picture below.

Foods tab

Click on the picture to see the database sources we use in Cron-O-Meter.

We have built in ways you can edit the nutrient ranges to more optimal levels if you desire. In Cron-O-Meter you can see the default values for the USDA nutrient ranges by clicking on the macronutrient, micronutrient, and graphs. Here we clicked on the words “B5 (pantothenic acid)” and the range box pops up (depicted below). You can set a different range or use the default RDA standards, which will be displayed if they are defined.

Nutrient levels box B5

 

Next time we will discuss the dynamic macronutrient targets and what the targets in the dropdown menu (zone, paleo, ketogenic, LFRV) mean and can do for you.

Dynamic macronutirent targets

Live well!

Frank Alvarez- Health Coach

www.FranklyNutritious.com

Posted in Health, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Read Nutrition Fact Labels: Step One in Healthy Eating

By Frank Alvarez – Health Coach

The process of determining if a food is nutritious or not is arduous at best.   The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have all been developed into user-friendly recommendations for how Americans should choose their foods.

The guidelines are a relationship between the USDA Food Guide, My Plate, and Healthy People 2010.   Healthy 2020 is in the works.

healthy people 2010

http://www.healthypeople.gov/2010/

We often get questions like:

  1. How can I choose nutritious foods?
  1. What’s on a nutrition label?
  1. Does it mean anything to me?
  1. Are food labels regulated?
  1. What are DRI, RDA, AI, DV, %DV, and UL?

Here is how it all works:

The DRI’s (Dietary Reference Intakes) include 2 sets of numbers that serve as goals for nutrient intake. They are the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) and Adequate Intakes (AI).

The RDA’s reflect the average daily amount of a nutrient considered adequate to meet the needs of most people in a population. The AI’s where developed for nutrients that do not have enough scientific data to be given a RDA, which subsequently are given an AI. The Tolerable Upper Limit (TUL) is the recommended maximum of a nutrient someone should consume.

In Cronometer the Nutrient Targets shows your nutrition targets for the day. Each target has an optional minimum and maximum value. By default, the minimum is set to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) value for your body type, and the maximum is set to the Tolerable Upper Limit (TUL), when available. You should strive to get at least 100% of your daily targets from your diet to prevent malnourishment.

Below is a partial view of the nutrients section on the diary page. Along the top you can see a seven nutrients that the user can track from a vast list of choices. The colors indicate if you have met the DRI for that nutrient (green) or are still below it (yellow). By scrolling over the icons you can see the actual amounts of the that nutrient you have consumed according to what is currently in your diary.

Crono nutrient targets3

Further below you will see many more things that are tracked in Cronometer. The colors correspond in the same manner as we just explained above with an added feature of the nutrient turning red if you consume too much of it and it is a recommended not to. (sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat etc.) By scrolling over these values a pop up window will show you which foods the value is coming from.

Crono nutrient targets2

When you read a nutrition facts label you will encounter a different set of numbers. The Daily Value (DV) is the recommended intake of a nutrient based on either a 2,000 or 2,500 kcal diet. The percent Daily Value (%DV) is the percentage of the recommended intake (DV) of a nutrient provided by a single serving of a food.

The DV and %DV were created to give consumers a benchmark for know whether a food is a good source of nutrients and allowing them to easily compare one food with another. The DV and %DV is used for nutrition labeling, NOT what is adequate for humans. The RDA value, or the AI value if no RDA can be determined, is what is used to determine an adequate intake level.

Food labels are regulated, and the %DV really only tells us if a food is a good or bad source for the nutrients that it contains.

Here is a good guide to keep close until you learn to read labels well:

Nutrition labelwww.he.k-state.edu. November 2015.

Here is a summary of what the above chart states:

  1. Start with the serving size and be sure to understand what one serving really is. It usually is not the entire can or box, but a portion of that.
  1. The average person should consume about 2000 calories per day, less if not active. Remember that the calories listed on the label will be only for the serving size, not the whole package.
  1. Total fat tells you how much fat is in one serving of the product you are looking at. It includes fats our bodies need and unhealthy fats we should limit.
  1. Sodium is a salt and adults should aim for less than 2300 mg of sodium per day. Remember this is not just table salt, it is the salt already present in foods. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease; are over 50, or are of African American descent, it is recommended to consume less than 1500 mg daily.
  2. Total carbohydrates listed include sugars, dietary fibers, and other carbohydrates. Try to get the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans. Look for foods with more fiber and less sugar. Sugars on the label include both natural and added sugars. Foods with only natural sugars will show a number next to sugars on the label, but will not show any sugar-words in the ingredient list.
  1. As a rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients a product has, the healthier it is. The ingredients are listed in descending order, from greatest amount to least. If you see sugar as the first ingredient, it is high in sugar.

Be cautious of some marketing labels you will see on packages. Reduced fat, low fat, and light may not be as healthy as they lead on to be, or at all. A low fat food can be high in sugar or calories, while offering little that is good for you.

I hope this blog serves to help you understand nutrition labels and how Cronometer derives the information you see. In our next blog we will discuss how to customize the nutrient levels, if you desire, and how that may be beneficial for you.

Please comment here and let us know your thoughts and questions.

References

  1. McGuire, Michelle, Beerman, Kathy A. (2011). Nutritional Sciences From Fundamentals to Food. (2nd ) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  2. http://www.healthypeople.gov/2010/
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