7 Reasons Why You Should Keep a Food Diary

by David Mendosa Patient Advocate

Keeping a food diary can be an effective strategy to managing your diabetes. Read on to see 7 more reasons why you should keep a food diary.

To manage your blood sugar

Only when you know how many grams of carbohydrates you are eating, can you manage your blood sugar. The fat you eat has no effect on it. Protein has little effect.

To manage your weight

Only when you know how many calories you eat, can you manage your weight. Your calorie count is the best guide you have when you want to lose weight, which most of us have to do in order to be healthy.

You have to write when you eat

Only when you write down what you eat, can you keep track of how much goes in your mouth. You have to keep a daily count of how many grams of carbohydrates and how many calories you eat and drink. It’s easiest when you write it down right away.

You have to set blood sugar and weight goals

Only when you set goals, can you achieve them. So this is your next reason for keeping a food diary. Set your blood sugar targets, like to the normal levels of than 100 mg/dl before breakfast and 140 mg/dl two hours after the first bite of your meals. Set your weight goal, like a BMI of less than 25, which is a normal weight.

You have to find your patterns

Only when you track what you eat and drink, can you connect the dots between your food input and the output to your blood sugar and weight. You have to study what you write down to see what it was that you ate and drank in the day or days before your blood sugar went above you goal or when you gained weight.

You have to use four tools

Only when you use the right tools, can you keep a food diary. To weigh how much you eat and drink use a food scale. To know how many carbs or calories that food has use websites like NutritionData. Read and record the carbs and calories on the “Nutrition Facts” label on packaged foods you eat. When you eat out, read and record the nutrition counts at restaurants that now post them. Websites like Healthy Dining Finder and CalorieKing can help.

Why to stop keeping a food diary

When your blood sugar and your weight are normal, you can stop your food diary. You don’t have to keep one all your life, but it is a way to be in control of your health.

David Mendosa
Meet Our Writer
David Mendosa

David Mendosa was a journalist who learned in 1994 that he had type 2 diabetes, which he wrote about exclusively. He died in May 2017 after a short illness unrelated to diabetes. He wrote thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and published a monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 kept his diabetes in remission without any drugs until his death.