Did you hear? Big Brother… The United States Department of Agriculture (informally the Agriculture Department or USDA) launched their “state of the art” nutrition tracking tool. code name: SuperTracker. This is being billed as:
“The SuperTracker is a comprehensive resource available at ChooseMyPlate.gov designed to assist individuals as they make changes in their life to reduce their risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight”
Taxpayers … I mean Consumers (or really anybody who has internet access in any country) can pick from a lot of features to support better nutrition and physical activity goals. Among the standard things most tools offer, SuperTracker offers consumers the ability to:
- Personalize recommendations for what and how much to eat and amount of physical activity.
- Track foods and physical activity from an expanded database of foods and physical activities.
- Customize features such as goal setting, virtual coaching, weight tracking, and journaling.
- Measure progress with comprehensive reports ranging from a simple meal summary to in-depth analysis of food groups and nutrient intake over time.
- Operationalize the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.
- Support family and friends by adding their individual profiles.
Sample Meal Plans:
This tool offers up some sample meal plans and then if you customize your profile, it just changes the portions and total calories to either keep your current weight or get to a healthier weight.
Notice the yellow highlights?
That is the Dairy category. I swear, dairy is pretty much a given for every meal of the day no matter what plan you choose. Who sponsored this thing?
Protein which should be included with EVERY meal isn’t. That is a one of Hugo Rivera’s Basic Nutrition tips. It’s loaded with grains (carbs). Which is fine unless you are carb sensitive or are some type of bodybuilding diet where you are controlling carbohydrate intake for leanness.
What I do like is the meal frequency. They appear as snacks but if you added a lean protein to those meals, you’d have a very standard bodybuilding type frequency plan. I guess what bodybuilders have known for decades, the government is finally catching up.
The Good Old BMI
When I input my own weight, I was told in the profile creation that my BMI (body mass index) was high and I should consider losing weight to conform to a healthier weight. You can somewhat by-pass that but your only choices are:
- Keep the same weight
- Lose weight
Right there this is NOT the ideal tool for any bodybuilders out there. You’ll NEVER be able to use just this tool to keep increasing your calories or figuring out protein needs to an athlete. So you 1% of the population, had best be using something else. While I do not hate the BMI or the generalized concept myself, it’s pretty useless on a one-on-one, case by case basis.
If this tool was truly state of the art, they should have asked a few other questions to determine my body composition and how that plays into health. Not an antiquated concept of height to weight ratios. That works in very large groups when you need to quickly move people into categories but seriously… in this day and age, it needed to figure out my “health” thru body composition and not the BMI.
Entering Custom Foods
It’s slightly confusing but you can enter custom foods. Although you cannot just say your custom foods is X calories, X protein, X carbs and X fat. You MUST enter each ingredient. So if you have a protein bar that tells you the basics, good luck getting that entered because you can’t. Unless you know the precise amounts in the bar that will equal what’s on the label.
What does that matter?
If you are entering a recipe that lists the ingredients great. But even then, many bodybuilding cookbooks just tell you the basics. When you enter a custom food in FitDay it is fairly simple. You don’t need all the ingredients, you just enter what you do know and you can use that food over and over again.
For a state of the art tool, this has some serious limitations.
I do like that the USDA is very concerned about the Obesity Epidemic and they provide some resources on the basics of sound nutrition.
Nice idea. A good effort. I’m sure it cost millions. But there are better free tools and paid tools that can do everything the Super Track does and then some.
Here’s some places you can track your workout, diet and other aspects of fitness. Some are programs, some are free web based tools. There’s even a free desktop program. All depends on what you need to do and what is the best place to track your progress.
Tools to Track Your Progress
Will track unlimited users in regards to vitals, nutrition, diet, exercise and recipes. There’s 100 recipes included as well as a method to enter more. Includes graphs and charts to track virtually every aspect of your progress. Trial available. It costs $44.95.
Record food intakes, create schedules and workouts, monitor health progress and generate fitness reports. There’s even a Palm version. 30 day trail available.
There’a deluxe and a free version of this option that allows you to track your workouts, nutrient content of foods, weight and exercises. There’s customization options and the ability to set goals.
The best online site for tracking your nutritional progress. A fair amount of charts and graphs. The ability to enter customized foods and the largest database of foods. It’s just very easy to track what you are eating from any location that has internet access. Hands down, the best place to track just nutrition. A+
With custom workouts and the ability to track all aspects of your nutrition, ProTrack has a nice package. It’s $29.95.
Personal Training Workstation
This will track workouts, supplement usage, body measurements, notes and more. It’s easy to generate charts and workouts. There’s unlimited users allowed. It comes with sample workouts. This was geared towards a personal trainer that wants to track their clients but anybody can use it.
Use something I missed? Post them in the comments below.
Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding