Comparing Changes in Diet Quality Between Two Technology-Based Diet Tracking Devices

  • Alycia K. BouttéEmail author
  • Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy
  • Sara Wilcox
  • Brent Hutto
  • Eric Muth
  • Adam Hoover


This study aimed to examine changes in Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) scores, components, and energy intake between automated Bite Counter (Bite) and traditional diet tracking mobile app (App) groups. This was a secondary analysis of the DIET Mobile study, a 6-month weight loss intervention. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Twenty-four-hour dietary recall data were collected. Overweight/obese adults (N = 81) were randomized to Bite or App groups. The intervention was delivered through behavioral podcasts. Participants were provided customized calorie/bite goals and used their device to track intake. We assessed changes in HEI-2010 scores from baseline to 6 months between groups. t tests, chi-square, and repeated measures ANOVA were performed. Models included time, group, and group×time interaction, controlling for no other covariates. There were no significant changes in HEI-2010 scores, components, or energy intake between groups at 3 or 6 months. This study found that both the Bite and App groups were able to reduce their energy intake and there was no difference in changes in diet quality between groups, which provides some support for using the less intensive, more automated method (Bite Counter) for long-term dietary self-monitoring. The study had a low sample size according to power calculations. Future interventions aimed at improving diet quality through mHealth technology should investigate the potential to develop a new app or modify an existing app that would allow for dietary self-monitoring that provides specific feedback on how users’ diets align with diet quality components in the HEI to improve overall diet quality.


Healthy diet Mobile health Obesity Dietary self-monitoring 


Funding information

This project was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number R21CA18792901A1 (PI: Turner-McGrievy). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Authors E and F have formed a company, Bite Technologies, to market and sell a bite counting device. Clemson University owns a US patent for intellectual property known as “The Weight Watch”, USA, Patent No. 8310368, filed January 2009, granted November 13, 2012. Bite Technologies has licensed the method from Clemson University. Authors E and F receive royalty payments from bite counting device sales. The remaining authors do not have any conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

The University of South Carolina Institutional Review Board approved the study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Exercise Science, Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Statistician, Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  6. 6.Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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