This article was published on October 27, 2010

Lose weight and stay healthy with Usable Health

Lose weight and stay healthy with Usable Health
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

There are no fewer than 160 million results for “weight loss” that come back from a Google search. How can you decide which ones actually work and which ones are snake oil?

Usable Health is a completely new approach to making adjustments to your diet and it picking up steam quite fast. Why? Because it’s evidence-based and founded on solid medical principles instead of baseless actions. It has had a recent appearance on CNN, and has picked up Antoine Dove from The Biggest Loser as a spokesperson.

OK, let’s back up for a moment. Most people aren’t aware of what evidence-based practice is, or what it means, so let me explain. Also, I’ll take this brief moment to let you know that I’m a licensed nurse and I’ve worked as one for a few years. I say that hoping to offer you credible information instead of just “more crap from a blogger”.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is best defined like this:

Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.

What does it mean? Essentially it means that there had better be proof that something works before you put it into action. Usable Health does just this. Using EBP, Usable Health gives you “food swaps” to help you reach goals for weight, nutrition, overall diet and more.

Once you sign up for Usable Health, you’re given the choice of what sort of goals you’re wanting to meet. Do you want to lose weight, maintain weight, build muscle or a combination? Taking your physical activity as well as your height and weight into consideration, Usable Health will provide a customized profile for exactly what you are wanting to do:

There are a number of restaurants (95 to be exact, as well as 16 frozen food brands) from which you can choose, and Usable Health is starting to acquire a recipe database as well. As it stands, there are over 20,000 home recipes, but Usable Health is building more via social networking.

This is what’s truly interesting about the service right now. The site is incentivizing its users to share their food swaps via Facebook and Twitter in the hopes of spreading the Usable Health message as well as increasing the data from which the site can pull.

I had the chance to sit and talk with Jiten Chhabra, M.D., a co-founder of Usable Health. To say that I was impressed by what I heard from him would be an understatement. Chhabra, who holds a medical degree from St. Johns, is in the difficult spot of being a medical doctor with a strong love for technology and how it can be used in healthcare. His passion for what Usable Health can do is unmatched, and the site is making strides for wider adoption.

Strides like what, you might ask? As Chhabra explains to me, Usable Health as a business is looking to expand into restaurants. The plan is to offer kiosks that will allow a customer to make better food choices on the spot, instead of having to plan a meal ahead of time, no matter where they eat.

While there is a vast amount of options for changing how we eat, I’ve not yet seem something that’s as simple to use and implement as Usable Health. All it requires is that you head to the site (which works on your mobile device, as well), enter the food that you’re thinking about eating and then you’ll get a recommendation for something that might be a better fit to your goal:

Give it a shot, let us know what you think. There is an iPhone app in the works, and a mobile browser version is coming soon. Both of these will have location awareness functions to help you find better food choices near you. So far I’ve talked to people who have been using Usable Health in conjunction with their other programs such as Lose It and Livestrong and the response has been great, so now it’s in your hands.

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