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Many people begin the new year with a resolve to improve their health. This improvement often starts with changing what they eat.

A food diary can be a useful tool in this process. It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods — good and not-so-good — you eat on a regular basis. Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, keeping a journal can be a very effective tool to help change behavior. In one weight loss study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. 

What should you include in a food diary?

Most experts agree that the secret to successful food journaling is accuracy and consistency. So, what should you record? A basic food diary should include the following:

  • What are you eating? Write down the specific food and beverage consumed and how it is prepared (baked, broiled, fried, etc.). Include any sauces, condiments, dressings, or to...

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