Nutrition Tracking: Now Even Faster

By , SparkPeople Blogger
People who keep a detailed food diary (like the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker) lose twice as much weight as people who don't track what they eat. Are you using your Nutrition Tracker every day? Are you recording everything you eat and drink? Are you measuring your portions for accuracy? If you've gotten stuck on your weight-loss journey, this is the best place to start looking for small changes you can make to your eating habits.
And now, tracking is even faster and easier than ever! Instead of having to type in a whole word to search for the food you ate, the search box will populate a drop-down menu with choices as soon as you start typing. So, for example, if you start to type "strawberry," as soon as the first few letters hit the box, you'll get a drop-down like this:

This new feature will save you time and make it even easier to accurately track calories and nutrients in your diet!

When you're in weight-loss mode, do you use the Nutrition Tracker every day? If not, what would make you more likely to make tracking a part of your day?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


How do I have Spark People make my daily menus? Report
How do I add fiber as a nutrient to my tracker? Report
i haven't used the tracker but i will start tomorrow it will help with my plans for Lent Report
I love the tracker. You have a nice selection of foods listed and it is easy to add or modify. Great work and thank you for making it easier to track food! :) Report
Need to incorporate a bar code scanner like the site "loose it". Their nutrition tracker is far better
Best tracker on the internet. Library of products is huge. Excellent! Report
In FAVORITES a way to change wording instead of having to remove it and start all over again. Report
I love using the nutrition tracker. This new feature is an awesome addition. Report
Eh, it's okay. Since 90% of my foods are in "Favorites" or "Groupings", I don't usually do a regular search. Report
I track even when not in weight-loss mode, to help stay mindful of what I'm eating, whether I'm getting enough nutrients. I use the iPhone version of the tracker when out, Web browser version when home or near a computer. Love being able to run a report near the end of the day to make sure I've gotten enough of all my nutrients. Love the convenience of multiple platforms, the ability to run reports, and the way I can find foods others have input, check the nutrition data to make sure it's accurate for me, and add another food if I need to. I wish the sync with my data at Fitbit worked better (changed or deleted entries don't get removed in the Fitbit log so the calorie counts can get inflated), but generally love this tracker! Report
It is still buggy. If I type in a word, say, tomato. Then I hit enter. It will back space one space and search on tomat. I need to re-enter the "o", and hit enter and it works. Report
I don't like the new auto-fill feature. It interferes with searching for a name of the food you are trying to enter. Help desk said it wouldn't do that, but it does. I find it difficult to find my food or even being able to fill in the box where you type your food item in because it will autofill and the autofill will not go away. HATE IT! Report
The only issue I am really having with the new tracker is that sometimes I will type something and hit [ENTER], and it will suddenly cut-off the last few characters of my search. For example, I try and search for "Romaine" and hit [ENTER] and it searches for "Rom" instead. It's happening fairly frequently on my system (I use Chrome as my browser; actually I've been having this issue with the fitness tracker, too). I also don't like how the suggestion box stays up AFTER I hit [ENTER] and blocks the search results. Report
I don't like the new tracker that comes up when I'm entering my foods for the day. It seems to be in the way. The regular, old way seems to be better. I will say, I am extremely thankful for the food tracker and for sparks.
Thank you for the blog. I like the new feature. At first I wouldn't track my food but that was some time ago. I can't live without tracking now. It's a life source! lol The tracker plays an important part in my progress and getting to my goal weight. I can't go without tracking! That day the site went down I was "lost" lol. I appreciate all you do! Thanks again! :) Report
I can't stand it. It's slow, it's cumbersome, and it often types FOR me when I'm trying to put in something else. On mobile, it's damned near impossible to type anything without it coming up, and the site is slow enough as it is. Report
I have to agree with a previous post and say that the amount of ads is incredibly frustrating, as it slows down my system so much that I am sometimes just leave the site. I've been a member of Spark for years now and have loved the site up until lately. Hoping some changes are made soon! Report
I love it. I am more aware of what I eat and it makes me want to eat less. I took a splurge today because it is a special day but will be back at tomorrow. I asked for the recommended menu too and I love it because it helps me pick what I have available and adjust it. I have been using it as a guide and it is so helpful. Report
I don't mind the idea of having auto-completed results, but I had the way it's displayed on the screen. It steals focus: I can type a lot faster than this thing can produce suggestions, so when I'm done typing, I immediately head to the result box to select my food...only this new auto-complete box throws itself in my way EVERY time. It's very frustrating. Report
It takes some getting used to, but I am now enjoying it. Report
I don't mind, just wasn't expecting it and am not used to it. It's easy enough. Sometimes I forget, don't pay any attention to it, and type the word or words in like before. That still works too. Report
Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. I use the tracker nearly every day, at least three times a day. Usually on the iPad. SP has gotten slower and slower as the ads have mushroomed in number, space, and complexity. In my favorites, the system takes FOREVER to load. Then when I click in the search field it goes dark for at least 15 seconds before I can type. And the system usually leaves off the first letter or two. I agree with others that I just bypass the new listing, but I am relieved to know it was not a screen malfunction. You need to do more than cosmetics to make the tracker work more efficiently. Either control the ads or improve you internal programming. Report
I was wondering why my tracker was so different. As another poster said, I thought it was a glitch. It is intrusive for me as well. I have been using the tracker for over 7 years now, so having parts of my words erased when I am so used to typing the whole thing is annoying.

I am just working on ignoring the drop down thing and carrying on as usual.

Is there a way to turn off the drop down for those of us who do not like it?
cj Report
I agree the commenters who find it more of a pain to use. Some things I used to be able to find easily and knew it would be at the top of the list as soon as I typed it in, and now I have this box in my way, and it is more than a little distracting.Some things I used to find easier with the website tablet than the app, and now the app, even though those particular items are a pain in the butt to find is easier. Some things I even rather re-enter information for because it is les of a hassle. Report
The word serving should be eliminated. Only something measurable. grams or ounces, tablespoons etc. But all the new changes have made negotiating Spark People easier. Report
The new way is a lot faster. Now, if only we could do something to standardize the quantities/amounts. It would be great to include both volume and weight measurements for all foods. It annoys me to see "SERVING," not knowing just what the serving is. Report
I love it, both this way and the old way. No complaints from me!I also love the new free SparkAmerica app! I am a very huge fan of SparkPeople and everything they offer. Report
I often wish I had the ability to type in a food without having to look it up. Sometimes the concern is more just listing a food consumed rather than knowing it's calorie count. I'd like to be able to list that I had four slices of pizza and let it go at that, rather than having to fiddle with the date base. Report
I agree with the previous comment. The SP app is expensive, as apps go. It doesn't work very well, especially the scanner. The fitness data base is lacking; i.e. it doesn't have all the exercises that the regular website does, so I have to log on to my computer to track one of my favorite strength workouts. Other nutrition trackers have more complete data bases, and many of them are free. All is not bad. I really love a lot of things about Spark and hope to stay. I also know there is no free lunch, but there is lots of room for improvement. One particular peeve is that calorie counts for cooking, for example, how many calories in a cup of flour or a third of a cup of sugar are very hard to access. Yes, they are there if you jump through all sorts of hoops, but it's easier to go elsewhere. Spark People has so much going for it and the people are great, but in my opinion there's room for improvement. Someone should proof the articles written. I find mistakes nearly every week and I don't mean how accurate the information is, because I wouldn't usually know about that. I'm talking about simple stuff like typos, words spelled wrong etc. You have a great product and you provide a great public service for people who otherwise might not be able to afford a program for weight loss and fitness. I commend you for that! But, the efforts could stand to look more professional. Report
I usually ignore the drop-down box, go ahead and type my word and hit "search" like usual. It works fine for me.
For tracking restaurant meals, some restaurants have nutritional information on their websites. Report
Have a "Quick Add" button for adding meals when your out or if you know the calorie content, to be able to do a quick add would be amazing! I have company on the week-ends and I miss tracking on those days because it takes to much time to rummage through everything to log my meals. The scanner on the android app does't work! it always comes up "not found" so maybe increasing the data base and fixing the scanner on the app would be a great benefit as well :-) I am caught between MFP and this site right now. this site is very community based and has taught me a lot about food and "lifestyle" but MFP is soooo much easier to use and it has an incredible data base and the scanner works!!! and I didn't have to pay for the app like I had to pay for the app on this site! Please help and make some changes I would REALLY like to stay here! :-)
I'm finding the new tracker very intrusive - I seldom use it - lots of time wasted scrolling but I do track all three meals & snacks and often enter what I'm planning to eat to be sure I'm on track Report
My biggest challenge when it comes to nutrition tracking is figuring out how to enter foods from restaurants that are not listed on the tracker. This takes a great deal of time. Report
What would make me more likely to track every day? Highlight the foods that have portion sizes listed in ounces or grams rather than "1 serving". It takes too much time to find foods on the list that have nutrition info listed in oz or gm. :-) Report
I love the new tracker. I'm able to find things much quicker. Thanks! Report
I'm liking this new change. I do think that any time we enter a food, the first thing that comes up should always be the pure, unadulterated food--never a processed choice. It would be subconscious encouragement to eat real food. Report
I don't mind the new tracker I like the old one also. one thing that would be much more useful if the foods that dropped down were in alphabetical order . example if you put in coffee . black coffee should come first then all dunkin coffee should be together .Just a thought . Report
I don't mind the new tracker I like the old one also. one thing that would be much more useful if the foods that dropped down were in alphabetical order . example if you put in coffee . black coffee should come first then all dunkin coffee should be together .Just a thought . Report
I hate the new drop down menu. I prefer the old way. Report
I don't track my calories everyday because I am at college and we are not given access to the caloric information for the foods here unless we get something like a yo-plait yogurt and then it's already on there but most of the time we don't have access to that information. Also, it can be painful to have to get on the computer every time I want to track something and I haven't yet let myself fork out the money to buy the app for my phone. I used to have it when it was free but have not since then. If I decide to start tracking calories I will probably use some app that is free. Report
I don't track only because i don't normally have the time I know other applications have this is your enter the size of your plate or bowl and then you take a picture of what your eating. It comes up with a list of what your eating and aprox portions and you check yes or no. That would be the ideal! Report
I love the new drop down menu for the nutrition tracker. I think it's faster and more intuitive and comes up with the names of the items more coherently for me. I also like the look of it better, with the lines between each item. Thanks Spark People! Report
I greatly dislike it as well. I never had any complaints about the old way. Report
For the most part... it may be faster for some folks but honestly?

It's slowing me down. Not just because I'm not used to it.

...I hate to say it, but I find this very inconvenient! I type quickly, but though I've typed a complete word, this feature actually ERASES all but the first three letters and so it doesn't give me the choices I'm looking for--especially the items I've entered manually, they aren't even on the drop-down list!-- and I have to retype the item several times to get to where I want to be! It's really annoying!

I don't know if it will get easier or not. I'm currently dealing with some changes in a disease process, and I NEED this tracker, I really need to be careful about what I eat so I can stay as healthy as possible. I've been on SparkPeople for six years, and seen a lot of changes, and the nutrition tracker has always been one of my favorite and most useful features.

Right now, I'm so frustrated with it that I don't even want to use it!

Please fix it so it doesn't delete what I've typed in!

Kathy Report
I do not like it, it is easier for me to go to favorites or food I manually entered
or use the regular one. and if you type something wrong, go back and fix is impossible you have to start all over again. Nope not for me. Report
Thank you so much - this takes a lot of the pain out of tracking for me. Report
the drop-down is weird for me, but i'll get used to it.

i track every day, but i don't track EVERYTHING every day. a lot of times when i go out to eat it's hard to figure out an equivalent of whatever entree i ordered, so i don't waste the time. even with that, i see progress. on another note, i do need to either stop snacking when i'm tired or get in the habit of weighing and tracking every pretzel i sneak out of the bag... Report
I thought it was a glitche in the system-don't like it at all. Sometimes it won't go away quickly so I can find what I am actually looking for or choose "foods I have manually entered". Report
I don't like it. It gets in my way and actually slows me down. Most of my foods I've manually entered, though. Report
I like the new change. It works great for me! Thanks! Report