What are the best mobile apps for calorie counting?

For any phone. (Even apps not specifically designed to be run on a phone, as long as you can realistically run them on some phone.)

Please keep arguments about whether calorie counting is a good or bad thing out of the answers. That’s for another question.

MyFitnessPal is the only calorie counting app I have ever used and it is outstanding.

I count calories daily and I’ve never felt the need to try any other apps because MyFitnessPal gives me everything I need and more.

Here are five reasons why I think MyFitnessPal is the best app for calorie counting.

Reason 1: They get the big picture.

When I say this, I mean that their whole system is based on the concept of generating a calorie deficit for weight loss.

If you’re not sure how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, MyFitnessPal will tell you the answer.

MyFitnessPal estimates your basal metabolic rate (BMR) when you sign up. It then gives you a recommended daily calorie intake to lose weight based on your activity level. The more active you are, the more wiggle room they build into your calories.

From the get-go, they force you to specify a weight goal and a deadline. No screwing around. They are in the business of getting you results, which I love.

Reason 2: It has a very comprehensive food database.

MyFitnessPal will assign a calorie count to almost any food you can think of.

It also provides in-depth nutritional information on macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat), cholesterol, fiber, and vitamins/minerals. In fact, the reason I started using MyFitnessPal was to monitor my carb intake.

Many of the numbers from restaurant items come directly from the nutrition facts on their websites. There is even information specific to variations of popular chain restaurants in different countries!

Reason 3: It does a good job of measuring calorie expenditure.

Calories in is only half of the weight loss equation.

You must also estimate how many calories you are burning from daily activity and exercise in order to target an appropriate calorie intake for weight loss.

MyFitnessPal accounts for your overall lifestyle when you set your initial weight loss goal and allows you to log your exercise to capture day-to-day fluctuations in activity to keep your calorie estimates accurate.

MyFitnessPal gives you an estimate for calories burned from various types of activities based on the amount of time you spend exercising. The exercise database includes various speeds of running and walking. It even has two levels of soccer (casual and competitive)!

These days, activity trackers are everywhere and MyFitnessPal is compatible with many of them. In fact, I never have to log my exercise in the MyFitnessPal app anymore because it estimates my daily calories burned from exercise by syncing with my Fitbit.

Reason 4: It has some great social features.

MyFitnessPal has a huge user base, support forum, and a popular blog. and it even allows users to create their own blogs.

Their social media reach is massive: more than a million Facebook fans and over one hundred thousand Twitter followers as of the time of this writing.

This fosters a community to help people interact and support each another in reaching their weight goals. Pretty cool.

Reason 5: Last but not least, it’s simple and free.

Look, we’re all busy. We can’t spend hours a week on this stuff. We need a system we can execute in less than five minutes a day.

With MyFitnessPal, it’s ridiculously easy to search for foods and enter them into your calorie log for tracking.

Their mobile apps offer all of the functionality of their main website and even more, so it’s just as easy to track your calories while you’re on the go or away from a computer. In fact, with features like the smartphone barcode scanner, it’s even easier.

Best of all, the web application and smartphone apps are all free.

Unfortunately, no apps are perfect. There are some limitations to MyFitnessPal.

People are able to enter their own meals and figures into the food database.

This can be good and bad. Good because you will almost always be able to find a food. Bad because you have to watch out for some of the “generic” or “homemade” entries, which may be inaccurate.

Despite these limitations, I still believe MyFitnessPal is your best bet for tracking your calories.

But try it out for yourself. It’s free, so you have nothing to lose. You can sign up for MyFitnessPal here.

I’ve also created a free weight loss spreadsheet that you can use alongside MyFitnessPal to ensure you are making progress towards your goal.

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