My Fitness Pal

Reach your weight loss goals using a smartphone calorie counter. Set a daily calorie goal and record your daily food and exercise to make sure you stay on track.

Website: www.myfitnesspal.com/mobile/

Cost: free

Platforms: iPhone and Android

my Fitness Pal screenshots

A Selection of Features:

Some features may differ between platforms and change as new versions become available.

  • Figure out those calories:  You can chart your daily calorie intake fairly accurately by either entering in your own food information or using the data in its 3,000,000+ food database of global items and cuisines. Updated daily.
  • Easy food entry:  remembers your favorites, add multiple foods at once, save and add entire meals.
  • Diet with your friends:  add friends and easily track and support each other’s progress.
  • Barcode scanner:  scan the barcode of a food and easily find its match in the database.
  • Exercises:  track both cardio and strength training, including sets, reps, and weight/rep.
  • Goals:  customized goals based on your specific diet profile – age, gender, activity level, etc.
  • Listen to your doctor:  enter your own goals if you’ve gotten specific recommendations from a doctor, nutritionist, etc.
  • Tracking:  track your weight, measurements and more.
  • Social Media:  automatically post your progress to Twitter and Facebook (optional).

Personal experience/Recommendations:

I’ve used this app for a week now and though it’s still early days, I’m a fan, with some reservations.  This app delivers on its promises.  It is feature-packed and relatively easy to use.  You can start monitoring quickly and the massive food database gets you very near to the actual calorie, nutrient intake.  I like that it takes into account your personal weight, gender, etc. information and you set your own goals.

I definitely like the fact that you can go to a chain restaurant and probably find your menu item in the database.  Equally if you eat at home you can scan the barcode with the app and have the nutrition information loaded into your daily food intake.  You just have to adjust the amount eaten and include any additional ingredients.

All that being said, as with any app, use it knowing that you are just working with approximates, not clear cut specifics.  It appears that as app users enter their personal food data, custom foods get added to the general database.  And once created, you apparently can’t delete or edit that food in the database, just the particular information once you recall it.  For instance, I created a healthy fruit drink for myself but accidentally forgot an ingredient.  Too late.  I had to recreate the drink under a slightly different name or the calories would be all wrong.  This plays out on a broader scale when you search for a food and find a large selection of that item to choose from with an equally large selection of calories all put in by users like you who may or may not have a strong sense of the actual calories for that food or who might have made an initial mistake and added a second entry with half or double the calories.

One other issue would be the “work” involved.  Remember that most foods have calories so either get used to carefully inputting all your choices throughout the day which can be a bit cumbersome, especially when eating with friends or in a hurry, or start trying to remember all those foods at the end of the day.  Of course you could just not be so nit picky but the more you skip the more you skew the results and lose confidence in the process.

For me I had already adjusted my food choices so with the addition of this app, the process became better and more refined.  I was dedicated to the process and formed good habits before the app.  I think it might be a bit harder if you relied on the app to turn your food world around.

Reviewed: 10 December, 2013

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