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Perks of Keeping a Food Diary

I know, I know. You already keep a blood sugar log and have to remember to take medications at certain times of day. So keeping a food diary seems like another task to be added to that long to-do list. But there are some pretty big benefits of keeping a food diary. Check them out and see if you think they could help you and your daily health.

Benefits of keeping a food diary

You can see the way different foods affect your blood sugars

Have you ever eaten something new for breakfast and at your next blood sugar check noticed it had skyrocketed past your usual numbers? Here is a great place to keep a food diary. When we write down what we eat, we can more easily see patterns in the way our blood glucose levels react in response to certain foods or food groups. You may feel like you need to stick to the “usual” meals all the time for fear that trying something new may trigger a high or a low. But keeping a journal will make it easier for you to remember which foods or food groups worked well for you, and which ones did not.

It makes you more accountable

If you have to write it down, are you really going to eat it? That is one of the things research has shown. Many people are more successful with weight loss when they keep a food diary. Something as small as the act of having to write it down might make you pause and think about whether or not you really need that third piece of pizza. “A 2008 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the more food records people kept, the more weight they lost. ‘Many people are not aware of what they’re eating until they actually start writing it down,’ says Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in New York City.” 1 You may be able to keep better portion control when actually counting the number of handfuls of chips or pretzels, too!

You may notice appetite changes

Foods that are high in protein and fiber keep us full longer than foods that are mainly carbohydrate-based. Keeping a food journal may make it easier for you to spot trends in your diet that help you make more satisfying choices. If choosing nuts with lunch or a snack kept you full until dinner that could be worth repeating!

Don’t stop there

If you enjoy journaling you could also add in your blood glucose levels as well as exercise. It may help you feel more accomplished at the end of the day when you can look back and see some of the healthful choices you made, even if all of them weren’t perfect! If you have any questions about keeping a food journal, reach out to your registered dietician, certified diabetes educator or physician.

Happy journaling!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Diabetes Forecast. Keeping a Food Journal. Retrieved April 23, 2019, from


  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    9 months ago

    Very good one. I put what I eat on my spreadsheet along with the b/g read for that meal. That way I can tell what’s messing with me. I’ve seen foods that would play nice for a very long time and the would go and cause high b/g’s each time I had it for a long time as well. Or it would be vice-versa. Something I still have ‘fun’ trying to figure out. But this is a very good one. Thanks.

  • Katie Gutwald, RD moderator author
    9 months ago

    That’s great! Sounds like you have already seen the benefits of jotting it all down! Katie

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    9 months ago

    Yes I have. But as I said, the way food acts with going back and forth never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think you won’t be having any issue with that item then all of a sudden it goes high again.

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