A group of scientists designed a study to test whether activity trackers can help people lose weight. Study participants received weight management counseling which included diet and exercise. They also received telephone counseling, text messages, and access to online weight loss information. In just 6 months, they all lost a similar amount of weight.
Some participants also received access to portable devices and related websites to monitor their physical activity and diet. They used these devices for 24 months. Those using portable technology also lost 2-3% of their weight during the study.
One possible explanation for this difference is that users of weight loss trackers chose to reward themselves for achieving exercise goals. That is, if the tracker says they burned 400 calories or completed a certain amount of exercise, they can choose to eat dessert. This can lead to slower weight loss or even weight gain.
Learn more about Diet and Weight Loss here.