Diet Trackers; Pros and Cons

Diet/Fitness Tracker Apps

Using a food tracker app on your phone can be a great way to keep count of calories you’ve eaten every day. We all have our phones on us 24/7 and these apps are available on both Apple and Android phones. I have been using a food tracker app for a couple years, sometimes off and on, to track certain things such as protein intake or keeping carbs under a certain level.

A good place to start with any of these is go two weeks without changing anything, just eat and go on as normal. Keep up putting the food in that you eat and watch your calories. All of these apps will generate a goal caloric intake for you, but if you want to look at how most people calculate this this is a good calculator of where it comes from.

As a note regarding your daily food intake, exercise, and caloric expenditure- your body does not work in exact 24 hour cycles, if you miss your protein/carbs/fat numbers one day, then go a little over on another, YOU’RE FINE, you didn’t ruin everything, your body and health are not Jenga towers.

We reviewed a few of the most popular tracking apps on both iPhone and Android for which we felt worked the best for this lifestyle. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, I think the search results were in the hundreds of apps available on both platforms.

Cronometer:

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$3 app. Easy to use app, very detailed. Tracks calories, macros, vitamins and minerals. Can also track exercise. Has a feature to track your Basal Metabolic Rate changes, not sure if that’s very useful for most. In the version I looked at, it didn’t have a “count down” showing how many calories you had left for the day. Has a good website counterpart if you want to look at your diet history. They also offer a Gold version which looks like the feature added is tracking blood sugar levels as you test them throughout the day, but doesn’t seem to be worth it for most users. Did not download to use myself, I feel there are just as good, if not better apps for free.

 

Loseit:

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Free app. Very easy, simple app. Not a lot of extras, tracks calories, macros, and exercise. Has a calorie total and count down for what you have left for the day, and a feature where you can connect to other users to track each other’s progress and “points” within the app. Also sends out reward badges, which can really help continue progress. App has a companion website, doesn’t seem like it has many more features, It does include a premium option for $40 a year, but I’m not sure of what more you can get with that. Easiest to use if you will be inputting your own recipes a lot. Barcode scanner for easier tracking:

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Exercise tracking portion is also easy to use and has a large number of different activities to choose from.

My Fitness Pal:

 

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Owned by Under Armour, so there is a lot of connectivity to other apps and fit bits and such. If you make your own food a lot (as you should) you cannot add macro nutrients to the total without the premium membership. This app is very good, and still one of the easiest to use, but as they change more and more features to only be available in their premium app, it loses its former top spot for me. Same big index of exercise activities to choose from.

Spark People:

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Very similar to LoseIt and MyFitnessPal, but a lot of adds within the app. Still easy to use, great food and restaurant index for looking up foods, it also works with the GPS in your phone and when you go to input food it will ask if you are at any of the restaurants nearby and has their menu up. This app was the only one that actually gives you a calorie range. As calorie intake/burn is a “best guess” scenario anyways, this is a great feature so if you end up going past the lower number a day or two so you don’t feel like you blew your diet if you’re within your range. Same as the others with exercise tracking, pretty easy to use, and a large index of activities to choose from. App sends a ridiculous amount of reminders and notifications to continue to post, for me it’s annoying at times, but it can come in handy if you are just starting out.

Fat Secret:

 

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Appears easy, but it was the most difficult of the apps to use. Very difficult to input homemade food with calories and macros. The food log is pretty easy to search through, but the not being able to input your own food is a deal breaker for me. The app has a great list of restaurants to choose from, food brands, and store brands. So it looks like this app is great is you are mostly eating pre prepared food, such as OTR rails and drivers. After a few days of use, there were a few items that I tried to use the barcode scan and/or search for and the app did not have in their database.

Whether you track your food with one of these apps, find another that you like, or just use a notebook, this is where you see what’s happening in your diet. The days you feel horrible and just want to lay around, take a look at what you at the last couple days and stay away from it. Same goes for those days you feel amazing, look at what you’ve been doing and keep it up.

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