We’re into visual learning. Reading about things, hearing about them…that doesn’t really paint a picture for us. To truly understand what people are eating and doing, we need to really see it for ourselves.
The thing is, we’re not the only ones who think this. There’s a whole body of new body of research, which says that seeing a visualization of images, whether in 2D or 3D, helps nutritionists evaluate food intake more accurately. With the increase in prevalence of smartphones, patients can provide photographic evidence of all their meals and snacks, allowing us to give them the most accurate and applicable feedback.
Three PubMed publications have recently shed light on just how effective photographs can be in evaluating caloric content of meals and snacks. Here are some of the amazing things this research has shown:
1. Photography allows for real-time feedback on food intake.
Let’s just talk about how amazing this is! Being able to provide real-time feedback either personally or through a third-party service enables clients to truly change their eating habits at that exact moment. Is your patient eating an unbalanced meal? Let them know what they can add in. Are they eating too much? Tell them to take half of it home. Real-time feedback and reminders can keep your clients on their path to success!
2. Keep your clients honest.
Self-report bias is real, y’all. Regardless of how many handouts and fridge magnets we give with easy ways to measure a portion, sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach and that “⅓ cup of pasta” is really ¾ of a cup. I’m not saying anyone is lying here or your clients are purposefully trying to misreport – even I have problems visualizing what a third of a cup of pasta looks like. Being able to prevent self-report bias will allow you to give better feedback when meeting with clients and nip avoidable problems in the bud!
3. Let them know they’re not in this alone.
It’s hard to cheer your clients on if you don’t see them regularly. Our busy lifestyles can make us reschedule appointments, cancel at last minute’s notice and put our health on the backburner. By staying in contact with your clients wirelessly you can give them a thumbs up or helpful reminders to let them know they’re not in this transformative journey alone!
What are some ways you think technology can help improve your nutrition assessment with clients?
Chung, LM, and JW Chung. "Tele-dietetics with Food Images as Dietary Intake Record in Nutrition Assessment." Telemed J E Health 16.6 (2010): 691-98. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
Martin, CK, T. Nicklas, B. Gunturk, JB Correa, HR Allen, and C. Champagne. "Measuring Food Intake with Digital Photography." J Hum Nutr Diet 27.1 (2014): 72-81. PubMed.gov. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
Stumbo, Phyllis J. "New Technology in Dietary Assessment: A Review of Digital Methods in Improving Food Record Accuracy." Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 72.01 (2013): 70-76. PubMed.gov. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.