Sept. 14, 2009
Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA - To keep from packing on the pounds, it's necessary to maintain the proper balance of calories throughout the day to meet energy needs, a Georgia State University professor says.
Nutrition professor Dan Benardot's NutriTiming application goes beyond a mere calorie and exercise tracker. It keeps a log to analyze calorie expenditures and intake in order to present a picture of energy balances.
Thanks to his application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, maintaining this balance for health has never been easier.
Users can input the number of calories eaten per hour using a search feature that peruses thousands of foods, or, users can manually input nutritional information. Users also log their amount of physical activity per hour, which notes the number of calories burned.
The key to keeping blood sugar stable is staying within a range of a surplus or deficit of 400 calories over time, depending on how much is eaten and burned, Benardot said.
Generally, blood sugar fluxes every three hours. If a person goes too low, the body burns lean tissues in what's called a catabolic state.
"If blood sugar begins to drop, the brain will find a way to obtain energy, but the way that it finds it is not good as it burns muscle tissue," he said. "If muscle mass goes down, you can't burn as many calories per unit of time."
Conversely, if too much is eaten, the body goes into what is called a hyperinsulinemic state, where excess energy is converted into fat, Benardot said.
Beyond energy balance, users can track nutrients such as folic acid over the day with graphs that show intake amounts per hour.
"A nutrient can be eaten in a number of different ways, but there are toxicity points when a nutrient is consumed all at once," Benardot said. "If you go above that point, you might have the right amount for a day, but it's taken at a toxic level. It's important to see whether the nutrient is loaded in only a few meals, or is spread out during the day."
The latest version of the application also allows users to input data via the Web. Additionally, the system lets nutrition professionals review clients' data to provide better information for client counseling.
NutriTiming is sold for $9.95 on the iTunes Store. Users can store data on the Web for $7 per month.