Lark’s feedback on a logged meal may include a designation of that meal as “healthy,” “unhealthy,” or “neutral.” These categories are based on the foods that make up the meal.
- A “healthy” meal has all “healthy” foods or all “healthy” and “neutral” foods.
- A “neutral” meal has all “neutral” foods.
- A “mixed” meal has at least one “healthy” food and at least one “unhealthy” food.
- A “unhealthy” meal has all “unhealthy” foods or all “unhealthy” and “neutral” foods.
The purpose of this categorization is to put the focus on diet quality instead of strict calorie and nutrient counting. Lark considers a meal healthy only if it contains all healthy, or all healthy plus neutral, foods. If there is even a small amount of an “unhealthy” food, Lark will categorize the meal as “neutral.”
The meal may also be unexpectedly categorized as neutral or unhealthy if it included a food that Lark considers “neutral” or “unhealthy” but that you thought was “healthy.” As an example, granola bars are are often perceived to be a health food but are high in sugar and added fats. Thus, Lark considers it a "neutral" choice. Additionally, a protein shake may have the right number of calories and amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to hit your goals, but it could contain a lot of sugar or sugar substitutes and other additives. That is why Lark categorizes them as a neutral choice instead of a healthy one.
Lastly, Lark takes a "real foods are better" approach to our health classifications because, overall, they tend to be more nutritious. If your food choice is highly processed or contains a lot of added sugars or additives, Lark may not categorize it as healthy.
In general, Lark recommends choosing more nutrient-dense foods, while limiting nutrient-poor or calorie-dense foods. The foods and nutrients labeled as “healthy” include whole grains, lean proteins, unsaturated fats, fruit, vegetables, and fiber. “Less-healthy” ones, or ones to keep under a limit, include calories, carbohydrates, saturated fat, fried foods, sugar, and sodium.
These lists of “healthy” and “less-healthy” foods do not include all foods and nutrients, but they can guide you towards making healthier choices. Generally, choosing less-processed foods will help you achieve a healthier diet to reach your weight and health goals.