Best calorie counting app for iPhone: MyFitnessPal review

"MyFitnessPal is free, a MyFitnessPal account is free, and if you're dedicated enough to stick with them, the positive effects they can have on your health are priceless."

In today’s fast paced, highly mobile society it is often much easier and cheaper to eat fast food on the go than it is to spend the time and money to east fresher, more healthy meals. MyFitnessPal wants to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle easier by helping you track your calories and activity levels, set your weight-loss goals, and monitor your progress.

Losing weight and getting healthy is not easy. It’s even harder to do alone. But if you're looking for assistance, putting the MyFitnessPal calorie tracking app on your iPhone (or iPad, it's universal), is a great way to get keep you going in the right direction, and a great goal to consider for our Mobile Nations Fitness Month.

After installing MyFitnessPal you have to enter your personal information. This helps create your calorie goal and intake needs for each day.  The first page that launches gives you your calorie goal, and once you start inputting foods and exercise into MyFitnessPal it will calculate your remaining calories available for the day. Directly below this you will see a news feed that displays your updates, as well as updates from any friends you may have added through the app's social networking feature as well.

There are a few ways to add food to your diary; the first is simply by clicking the Add to Diary button that appears right next to your remaining calories counter. From there you can either search for the food you are eating, or if there happens to be a barcode available, you can scan it right in. (MyFitnessPal does a good job finding most products.) The food database contains over 1 million entries for things as simple as an onion or slice of cheese to your favorite meal at Outback Steakhouse or the Olive Garden.

In addition to logging the food you are taking in, it is equally as important to log any exercise you have completed for that day because that will help ensure that your calorie goal remains accurate. With over 350 different exercises in the application, logging the exercises you complete should take only seconds. Each day you can enter your weight into the application to help you keep track and on the right path. If you have a specialized fitness device, like a Fitbit, MyFitnessPal can interface with that as well.

Your weight will show in a graph so you can visually see if you are headed in the right direction or not. At the end of each day there is a button to complete logging your food entries for that day, and this will then pop up a message which gives you how much you would weigh in five weeks if you continued to eat and exercise the way you did that day.

In addition to the iPhone app, MyFitnessPal also works on the iPad. The iPhone is ideal for entering data while on the go during the day, but the iPad is nice for looking over and analyzing your progress when you have more time. You can also log anything and everything through the MyFitnessPal website so even if you don't have your iPhone or iPad handy, you still have a way to stay on track.

The good

  • Barcode scanning makes adding food quick and easy
  • Links with popular fitness devices like Fitbit
  • Social networking features help keep you motivated (peer pressure!)
  • Also available for iPad and via the web

The bad

  • Cardio activities are more confusing to add since you don't always know the specifics of speed, heart-rate, etc.
  • If a particular food is not in the database, adding it is difficult

The bottom line

MyFitnessPal is is free, the MyFitnessPal account is free, and if you're dedicated enough to stick with them, the positive effects they can have on your health are priceless. It's the dedication part that's really important. You need to be completely honest about what you eat, how much you are working out, etc. If you're looking to take better control of your weight or your fitness, get MyFitnessPal and get one step closer to a healthier lifestyle.

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Jared DiPane

Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.

  • This app is wonderful. I've lost 31 pounds using it. The community/website is also great!
  • I much prefer LoseIt. Adding foods is easy. Recording exercising is also a breeze. Their website offers great tools for analysis. It also offers the ability to see what percentage of your diet is carbs, protein and fat. Keeping those inline is also important. I'd really suggest checking it out.
  • Agreed. LoseIt is where it is. I did a review of it on the forums a while back, but it's a bit out of date now. It has a bar scanner in it too.
  • MFP also has a bar code scanner to scan your packaged food!
  • This new app has a more streamlined interface than LoseIt, but my pants have a more streamlined look thanks to LoseIt. Its been a great tool to keep my weight where I want it for years now.
    Either way, having a computer in-hand where you can log your diet and exercise in real-time is key. Just don't LIE to it. If your record of daily activity is accurate, it will work. My doctor agrees. :)
  • I lost 63 pounds since September using this app to manage my calories. It's a great tool.
  • I like it. i don't track my actual workouts (weight training or cardio) as I'm only interested in keeping track of my carb/fat/protein intake. It's still a great app, especially for free.
  • I'm a big fan of this app and the site. With the assistance of MFP, I've lost 51 lbs since September.
    I'd be glad to pay for the app. Works great. They also have a pretty decent iPad app.
  • Loseit! is better
  • Thanks, I'm gonna start using it today.
  • I prefer the interface of loseit. Very simple to use and has had a dramatic impact on my waistline. 120lbs worth !!
  • Great app! I've tried many and this one is my favorite!
  • My wife and I have been using this app for about a week! It's awesome. I had surgery so I can't work out like normal for a few more weeks. So this will keep me on track to get my six pack back before lake season!!!
  • Personally, I use - but anything that gets you motivated is good!
  • What an awesome app. I've lost 40lbs since Dec because of this app, and my wife has lost 25lbs. Even has lots of Australian food too!
  • I love this app! I use it everyday!
  • Been using this app so far for about 3 weeks and I've already lost about 5kg (10lb). Massive database for food, including some fast food restaurant items, which is handy. I only wish it had better support for Metric units (mainly the ability to enter in foods as Kilo Joules instead of Calories, which is what is primarily used in Australia.)
  • It's been working great so far other than me being over 15 calories lol I can't work out tonight, I have class, otherwise I'd be under 1480.
  • Fat secret calorie counter is my fav
  • My Fitness Pal is the best! It is way better than LoseIt, which does not have as many food choices listed as My Fitness Pal does. My fitness pal can give you percentage of protein to fat to carbs. You just have to click on the icon for the pie chart when looking at daily and weekly stats. I've lost 30 pounds on it and have been using it to maintain my weight for the past 6 months
  • Completely off topic, so I appologize, but the colored icons in the notification bar... Jailbreak plus what to get those?
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  • Just started it a week ago and I love it! I've already lost 5#!
  • I love this app.. This is my 2nd week and I've list 15lbs… my only issue is the amount of sugar it allows me to have is such a small amount that I either have to eat way under my calorie goal or go over in the sugar…
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