orthopedics, sports medicine

Don’t use fitness trackers to count calories

So, you want to lose weight? You start exercising and purchase a fitness tracker to enhance your effort.

Hold on.

A team of researchers from Stanford University found recently that though the devices purport to help users track their calories — daily energy expenditure — the number is often markedly incorrect, The Washington Post reported.

The least accurate fitness tracker, PulseOn, was off by an average of 93 percent. The most accurate device, Fitbit Surge, was off by an average of 27 percent, the Guardian reported.

At Signature Medical Group, we believe there’s a better way to lose weight. Our nutritionists and dietitians offer a diet plan suited to your goals for staying healthy. And our sports medicine experts can lead you to a proper exercise regimen to keep you in top shape.

In a statement to NPR, PulseOn said the extremely high level of inaccuracy may “suggest that the authors may not have properly set all the user parameters on the device.”

Regardless, the consequences of such large margins of error could be significant. “People are basing life decisions on the data provided by these devices,” Euan Ashley, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford and co-author of the study, said in a news release.

The devices proved most accurate for white women who were already fit, meaning “for those for whom it might matter the most, who are trying to lose weight, the error was actually greater,” Ashley told NPR.

Ashley told The Washington Post that the devices were effective in tracking heart rates. Most were off by only 5 percent.

But for losing weight, Ashley and another multiyear study published last year in the medical journal JAMA found that the trackers did not work well.

Our advice for those looking to lose weight and stay in top shape is to visit a knowledgeable Signature Medical Group specialist. You can trust us to give you a proper diet and exercise plan to keep you fit and healthy.

Make an appointment today and start feeling better.