Why food logging matters to metabolic health and how Levels can help

What you eat is your most critical health input, and using Levels’ simple food logging can unlock insights and strategies to reach your goals faster.


Food is the ultimate lever we can pull to support a metabolically healthier body. What we eat literally forms the building blocks of our cells and powers the complex symphony of hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, and signaling molecules that keep us alive and thriving.

But in a world of highly processed convenience foods and information overload, many of us have lost touch with how the meals we consume impact our well-being on a cellular level. We may have a vague sense that vegetables are “good” and candy is “bad.” However, very few of us can describe precisely how either impacts our glucose responses, inflammation levels, or any key metrics that get us closer to our goals, whether that’s weight loss, increased energy, or improved longevity.

In addition, hitting the right macro balance is nearly impossible without tracking your food intake. Studies consistently show that people underestimate how much they’re actually consuming, sometimes by up to 50%. We also tend to overestimate the protein content of our diets while underestimating carbs.

That’s where food logging comes in. By consistently tracking what we eat—both the healthy and the not-so-healthy—we shine a light on our nutritional blind spots and unlock a whole new dimension of health. Suddenly, we can connect the dots between the 4 pm energy crash and the carb-heavy lunch that preceded it. Or the great sleep and the high-protein, early dinner.

While food logging has long been recognized as an effective weight loss tool, its benefits extend beyond dropping a few pounds. Tracking your diet is one of the most potent ways to change your underlying metabolic health because it gives you a record of the facts, so you don’t have to rely on memory and can begin to notice—and take action on—patterns in your diet and health. That translates to more energy, better mood, improved body composition, clearer skin, and lower risk of chronic disease in the long run.

How Macros Affect Metabolic Health

One of the most valuable things you unlock with meal logging is your macronutrient ratios–the relative proportions of protein, carbs, and fat you consume. While all three macros play essential roles, they have different effects on metabolic processes.

Protein, for instance, is critical for building and maintaining muscle mass, which can absorb glucose more readily than many other tissues, helping to keep blood sugar stable. It’s also highly satiating, making it easier to feel satisfied with fewer calories. Conversely, carbs are the macro most likely to spike glucose when consumed in excess, contributing to glycemic variabilityinsulin resistance, and fat storage over time.

Dietary fat helps with the production of hormones and supports cell membrane structure. But the type of fat matters–too many omega-6 fatty acids from refined vegetable oils appear to be inflammatory, while omega-3s from fatty fish and monounsaturated fats from avocados and olive oil are anti-inflammatory.

Logging your meals with a tool like Levels, which automatically breaks down the macronutrient content, helps you make connections around these macros that would be hard to make otherwise. Suddenly, you might realize that the “healthy” spinach salad you always get for lunch is pretty low in protein and fiber while surprisingly high in fat from the dressing. Armed with that insight, you can make minor tweaks, like adding grilled chicken, chickpeas, or nuts, that add up to metabolic improvements over time.

How Levels Makes Logging Easier

Even with all its benefits, food logging can be challenging to do consistently. It can also be awkward in a social setting when you’re on your phone tapping in meals ingredient by ingredient.

That’s why our engineers have been working to make logging as effortless and automatic as possible, so you do it more consistently and get more from it. There are six simple ways to log in the Levels app:

  • AI-Enabled Quick Logging: Create a log literally in seconds. Just snap a picture of your meal or describe it in natural language, and AI will detect the individual foods and pull in complete nutrition data in the background while you move on with your day. Later, you can quickly review and add or remove items as needed.
  • Barcode Scanning: Ideal for packaged foods and drinks.
  • Search: Manually search our database of more than 1m items.
  • Recent Foods: Search both recent meals and individual ingredients and tap to add.
  • Custom Foods: Perfect for personal recipes or go-to ingredients.

How Better Logging Leads to Better Insights and Better Health

Of course, figuring out the optimal macro mix is just one part of the metabolic health puzzle. Even more important is the quality of foods you choose to obtain those macros.

Are you getting protein from a factory-farmed cheeseburger on a refined flour bun or wild-caught salmon atop a bed of colorful veggies? Is your fat from ultra-processed seed oil or extra virgin olive oil? Are your carbs from a sugary granola bar or a bowl of berries?

When you log a meal in the Levels app, you don’t just see the grams of protein, carbs, and fat. You get a detailed breakdown of the quality and potential metabolic impact of your meal, with a Zone Score from 1 to 10 that reflects your two-hour glucose response (or the Average Community Glucose response if you’re not wearing a CGM) in the two hours after eating, as well as the nutrient density and processing of the ingredients.

Over time, you can watch your average Zone Scores across meals to see how your diet is trending, and you can easily compare two meals to see which was better for you.

The Levels app also uses your logs to give meal-specific insights and concrete suggestions you can implement immediately. For instance, maybe you thought that breakfast granola you eat every morning was healthy but our app flagged some of its hidden ingredients like seed oils and high sugar content, then suggested a healthier homemade granola.

Or, let’s say your go-to lunch is a kale Caesar salad with chicken. The app might point out that you’re getting a nice dose of protein and fiber, but the added sugar in the bottled dressing is causing a higher-than-ideal glucose response. It might surface a recipe for a healthier homemade dressing.

These actionable insights are where the real power of food logging with Levels becomes apparent. The Zone Score gives you a high-level reflection of how you’re doing, while the detailed Insights help you make meaningful changes, one meal at a time.

In addition, you can use Habit Loops to set and track daily and weekly goals around diet quality, such as setting a protein or fiber goal or limiting spike-free days in a week, and use the My Data tab to watch long-term trends up to 90 days. Finally, you can order Levels Labs blood testing a few times a year to see how these diet changes affect the biomarkers that reflect your long-term health.


By closing the loop between what you eat and how your body will likely respond, Levels empowers you to make food choices that keep you in the optimal metabolic zone more often than not.

The result is a way of eating that is richer in nutrients and customized to your unique biology and goals. Instead of blindly following generalized diet advice, you can use real-time feedback to craft an optimal way of eating that works for your life and makes you feel your best – no guesswork or perfectionism required.