‘Smart diet’ app helps slimmers lose a stone in 12 weeks

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A new ‘smart diet’ which uses a mobile app and wearable trackers could help slimmers lose a stone in just three months, research suggests.

The study of 10,000 people suggests the weight loss regime, known as ‘Second Nature’, could be far more successful than traditional slimming groups.

Users receive a pedometer and ‘smart scales’, which are linked to an app on their phone that allows them to constantly track their weight loss, step count and sleep.

The immediate visual evidence of weight loss appears to motivate people to stay on track with their 12-week diet.

Slimmers are also placed in a peer support group with 14 other dieters starting the course, who are coached by a diet or nutrition expert.

A new ‘smart diet’ which uses a mobile app and wearable trackers could help slimmers lose a stone in just three months, research suggests

Users receive a pedometer and 'smart scales', which are linked to an app on their phone that allows them to constantly track their weight loss and step count

Users receive a pedometer and ‘smart scales’, which are linked to an app on their phone that allows them to constantly track their weight loss and step count

Slimmers are also placed in a peer support group with 14 other dieters starting the course

They are coached by a diet or nutrition expert

Slimmers are also placed in a peer support group with 14 other dieters starting the course, who are coached by a diet or nutrition expert. People have access to healthy recipes and daily articles covering topics like meal planning, how to sleep better, and how to overcome emotional eating

HOW DOES THE APP WORK? 

Slimmers download the app on their mobile or tablet and receive a fitness tracker and ‘smart scales’ through the post.

The tracker records how much steps and sleep someone is getting and pings that data to the application. 

Whenever the user weighs themselves on the smart scales, that information is also sent to the app.

Dieters then enter what they have eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner – as well as any snacks.

All of this information is used to form immediate visual evidence of weight loss, including bar charts and graphs.   

Slimmers also have access to healthy recipes and daily articles covering topics like meal planning, how to sleep better, how to overcome emotional eating and tips on how to be more active and burn more calories.

They can text back and forth with a group of 14 other dieters on the app for motivation and support.

Users also have access to a nutritionist every day who is on hand to give them advice and answer questions. 

The experts can be contacted every day for one on one advice, support and motivation via the app. 

Throughout the three-month programme, people have access to healthy recipes and daily articles covering topics like meal planning, how to sleep better, and how to overcome emotional eating.

The Second Nature diet is now being trialled by 50 clinical commissioning groups across the NHS.

So far GPs have prescribed the therapy to around 2,500 patients whose weight puts them at risk of type two diabetes. Around 20,000 private customers have also signed up to the scheme.

Analysis by its creators on 10,000 men and women showed dieters lost an average of 5.9kg (0.9 stone) after 12 weeks.

And separate research on almost 900 dieters, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), found they lost an average of 7kg (1.1 stone) over six months and 6.1kg (0.96 stone) after a year.

Second Nature experts say the tech helps people ‘rewire’ unhealthy habits.

And they suggest it may also prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes because the average weight lost exceeded 5 per cent of total bodyweight.

Doctors say this is the minimum amount of weight loss needed to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.

Chris Edson, CEO of Second Nature, said: ‘Using smart behavioural science, our app makes it easy for you to form new habits that help you sleep better, eat better and feel better.

‘Habits that help you lose weight, and keep it off, rather than worrying about constantly counting calories, following points or cutting out certain food types.’

Lynne Gaskell, 54, from Lancashire, was referred to Second Nature by her doctor after health checks revealed she was pre-diabetic.

Lynne Gaskell, 54, from Lancashire, was referred to Second Nature by her doctor after health checks revealed she was pre-diabetic. She lost more than five stone in five months - and reversed her condition

Lynne Gaskell, 54, from Lancashire, was referred to Second Nature by her doctor after health checks revealed she was pre-diabetic. She lost more than five stone in five months – and reversed her condition

She lost more than five stone in five months – and reversed her condition.

‘My doctor said the best thing for me was to lose weight. But I didn’t want to join a gym or any of the slimming groups as they didn’t appeal to me,’ she said.

‘Second Nature is app-driven, with smart scales, and you can join online chat groups for support, so it really suited me.

‘The eating plan is really easy to stick to – and I lost weight straight away.’

HOW MANY CALORIES DO I NEED EACH DAY? 

The basic amount of calories an average adult needs per day is 2,000kcal for women or 2,500kcal for men.

This is based on the amount of energy the body needs to carry out basic functions and to walk and work throughout the day.

People who exercise a lot need to eat more calories to fuel their efforts, and young people and children burn more energy, too.

If you eat more calories than you burn in a day, you will get fatter.

Eating fewer calories than you burn will make you lose weight.

Foods which are processed and have high levels of carbohydrate, sugar and salt have higher calorie numbers than fresh fruit and vegetables.

Example calorie counts include:

  • A McDonald’s Big Mac contains 508kcal
  • A two-finger KitKat contains 106kcal
  • A banana contains 95kcal
  • An apple contains 47kcal

Source: NHS  



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