WLR Collaborates with Leeds University Clinical Trials

By Rebecca Walton, wlr team

When wlr were asked to collaborate with a series of scientific studies by the Nutritional Epidemiology department at Leeds University School of Food and Science, we were happy to help in any way possible...

Research that informs the study of obesity and efficacy of weight loss interventions is hugely important – leading to proven methods that help people to lose weight and contribute to overall public health outcomes.

Weight Loss Resources was asked by the team at Leeds University to provide UK food calorie and nutrition data to enable dietary assessment of all the study participants.

The wlr program and tools were used by one group within the studies to track their food intake and weight loss results. The Calorie, Carb & Fat Bible was also used by a group asked to track their dietary intake offline, alongside our Food & Exercise Daily Diary.

Michelle Carter, Research Dietitian involved in the study said:

"I have been conducting a research project investigating the use of a smartphone app for weight loss. Weight Loss Resources provided me with the use of their extensive food and drink database free of charge, which we have incorporated into the app and also provided us with 50 free log-ins for six months to their website and 50 Calorie Bibles and diaries.

We were able to use these as comparison interventions in our study. The database has been invaluable in this particular project as it helped us to produce an app of comparable quality to existing apps on the smartphone market.

We have found Weight Loss Resources to be professional and friendly with a real interest in the research that we are conducting and a genuine enthusiasm and passion for helping people to lose weight. Several study participants commented that they had really enjoyed the website and the diary in particular. We are very grateful for their input into our research, all of which seemed to stem from a genuine unbiased interest in our work around weight loss."

The following series of studies were published in peer reviewed journals as a result of the collaboration, contributing to scientific literature and helping to inform future public health initiatives and guide health professionals.

The Lancet (2012) Volume 380, Issue S29

Use of Information and Communication Technology to Improve Dietary Assesment and Tackle Obesity

Authors: Michelle Carter, Nisreen A Alwan, Victoria Burley, Petra A Wark, Charlotte E Evans, Darren C Greenwood, Laura J Hardie, Gary Frost, Janet E Cade

This small initial study was conducted to pilot the use of ICT in trials such as this to assess dietary intake.  The ‘My Meal Mate’ app was populated using the wlr UK food database. The study shows that this type of food recording is a feasible and acceptable dietary and weight management aid.


British Journal of Nutrition (2013) Volume 109, Issue 3

‘My Meal Mate’ (MMM): Validation of the Diet Measures Captured on a Smartphone Application to Facilitate Weight Loss

Authors: Michelle C. Carter, V.J. Burley, C. Nykjaer and J.E. Cade

This study was conducted to fully validate the use of technology in trials such as this to measure dietary intake compared to 24-hour memory recall (previously the most widely used method within clinical studies). 

‘My Meal Mate’ was developed using the wlr food and nutrition database. The study shows the potential for this type of technology as a dietary assessment tool for clinical weight loss  trials.


British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin (2013) Volume 38, Issue 1

Development of ‘My Meal Mate’ - A Smartphone Intervention for Weight Loss

Authors: M.C. Carter, V.J. Burley and J.E. Cade

Following the validation studies, this paper describes the MMM app in detail, discussing its development and outlining plans for further investigation. The UK food and nutrition database compiled by wlr was used as the central food reference for the app.


Journal of Medical Internet Research (2013) Volume 15, Issue 4

Adherence to a Smartphone Application for Weight Loss Compared to Website and Paper Diary: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: M.C. Carter, V.J. Burley, C. Nykjaer, J.E. Cade

A result of the initial feasibility studies, this full 6 month pilot study compares the outcomes of 3 randomized groups assigned to recording their food intake; either on a mobile phone, on a desktop computer, or using paper-based tools.

Weight Loss Resources provided the UK foods dataset for the MMM app, the desktop tool used was the wlr online program, and the paper-based group were each supplied with our Calorie, Carb & Fat Bible and Food & Exercise Diaries.

Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01744535


Journal of Medical Internet Research (2017) Volume 5, Issue 2

Weight Loss Associated with Different Patterns of Self-Monitoring Using the Mobile Phone App My Meal Mate

Authors: M.C. Carter, V.J. Burley, J.E. Cade

Using the results from the full pilot study, this clinical trial conducts further analysis to explore the relationship between the frequency and pattern of participants’ food recording and their resulting weight loss outcomes.

Results showed that those who recorded their food intake most frequently lost an average of 6.4kg more than those who recorded least frequently. All the participants in the study used wlr food data to record their food intake.

Clinical Trials Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01744535


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