Best fitness apps to help you track food and lose weight

This week, I surveyed my fitness group which has over 10,000 members from around the world on what their favorite app, website or blogs for fitness information are. The responses are still coming in – and I thought I’d compile a list together for everyone.

This is something I really enjoy doing and was doing on a professional level for a while. Collecting stats, data and compiling into research papers, briefing notes and financial reports. So, I’m putting to use my skills here!

For today’s post, I’m going to talk about the five most popular fitness apps that people and will mention some apps you may not be familiar with.

Note: I am not affiliated with these apps in any way nor am I being paid to promote them. That said, as a fitness promoter, I would love a sponsorship!


My Fitness Pal

Also known as MFP, this app has been around for fifteen years and is described by its users as “easy to use” and “has everything I need for tracking calories and weight loss progress.”

The app which was created in 2005, is one of the oldest fitness apps and is available for iOS and Android users. It was created by Albert and Mike Lee and is now worth nearly $500 million. In 2015, the app had nearly 80 million users and it has only grown from there.

When discussions come up in the Fitness and Weight Loss group that I moderate, My Fitness Pal is easily the most suggested app for tracking calories. Those with a premium membership, claim that it’s worth it in early stages to track your progress for weight loss and for setting fitness goals.

Background

MFP is a smartphone app that helps you track diet and exercise. This insanely popular app uses gamification elements to help motivate its users. Stats can be entered manually or items can be located in the apps pre-existing database.

The app does offer a premium subscriptions for its members. I did some research for you into and used the plan comparison chart on the MFP website.

Free Plan vs. Premium Plan

With the free plan, you are able to track your daily calories, customize carb, fat and protein goals, and there is a feature that allows you to quickly log the number of calories per meal.

With the premium plan, you have several additional features including:

  • Food analysis
  • Calorie goals by meal
  • Different goals by day
  • Exercise calorie settings
  • Meal level carbs, protein and fat
  • Quick add carbs, protein and fat
  • Carbs, protein and fat by grams
  • Priority customer support (this should be available on all platforms)
  • Ad-free browsing
  • Exclusive content

The premium plan costs $9.99 or $49.99 per year which seems a little steep. But it does give you a lot of tools that you can learn to work with early on. Once you are comfortable with what you have learned, you can switch back to a free plan and create your own tracking tools.

Cons: the calorie counter may not be entirely 100% accurate. It’s best to use common sense and know that there is room for error in your calculations. But this is true for all apps out there. Nothing is ever 100% accurate.

Data Breach

MyFitnessPal was involved in a data breach in 2018 and unfortunately, my own account was hit in that data breach. I’m still receiving ransom emails threatening to expose “sexy images” of me – images that do not exist. If you are receiving these emails, just report them to MyFitnessPal and your email provider. Report them as spam. Change your password and use unique passwords to access all your apps.


Lose It!

I admit, I’m not familiar with this app but I have seen a few people swear by it in the group. I thought it was worth mentioning here in this post as it ranks highly in the fitness world.

Background

The Lose It! app was created by Joseph J. Allaire, an American software engineer and inventor. The app was developed in 2008, not long after My Fitness Plan was created. The company was called FitNow, run by Allaire, Paul DiCrsitina and Charles Teague and it was dedicated to developing health and fitness related applications.

Lose It! now has over 17 million users around the world and is growing more and more popular by the day.

According to the advertisement on Google Play, the app is actually called “Calorie Counter by Lose It! for Diet and Weight Loss” and it can be downloaded here.

Free Plan vs Premium

Upon first glance on the LoseIt website, you can see that the app offers a variety of features. These features include goal setting, food tracking, and tools to help track your weight loss progress. There are also tools to help track your water macro intake.

Features included in the premium plan:

  • Fitness trackers and app integrations (mapmyfitness)
  • Nutrient goals and insights
  • Custom goal setting and tracking
  • Meal planning and tracking of calories
  • Create custom challenges
  • Group creation and moderation – I might look into this
  • Email reports and notes

The premium plan for LoseIt! is slightly cheaper than My Fitness Pal at just $40 per year. This app is considered a close second to MFP. It has been ranked highly by Today, People Magazine, Good Morning American and Women’s Health Magazine.

Cons: as with any app, there are going to be cons when it comes to using LoseIt. No app is 100% and there is room for human error. It looks like LoseIt was a victim of a databreach in 2018. Make sure to change your passwords often and create unique and difficult passwords no one could guess.


Spark People

Spark People was one of the first websites I visited and joined when I first started my weight loss journey in 2009-2010. I’ve been a long-time member and used their calorie trackers almost religiously when I first got into counting calories.

Chris Downie, the founder of Spark People, developed the website in 2001 and it has continued to grow. I wasn’t going to include the website with this list, but in all my Google searches, it comes up in the top 5 lists from around the world. It’s still massively popular and used by millions of people.


Spark People Mobile

The most popular app from this company is the Spark People Mobile that can be downloaded from the Apple store or Google Play store for Android users (like me).

While the Spark People Mobile app is one of the most popular this company has to offer, there is another fantastic app for healthy recipes that you can download.

The app contains over 500,000 recipes. You can search by ingredient, course or dietary needs. There are tons of videos and demos to help you learn new cooking skills to aid you in your weight loss goals.


This app is free and easy to use. Here are some of the main features that you will get with the app:

  • Access to one of the largest food databases for tracking calories
  • Fast and simple fitness tracker with over 600 exercise demos by certified trainers – it’s still one of my favorite youtube channels too
  • Detailed reporting tools to help track your daily food intake and nutrition values
  • Blog articles, fitness tips and healthy recipes from personal trainers
  • Ability to create a profile, have your own blog and connect with friends and members from around the world
  • Complete integration with your free Spark People account and you can earn points as you set and meet your goals!

Other apps include:

  • Nutrition Lookup
  • Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes
  • Perfect Produce
  • Quotes of the Day (inspirational)
  • Pregnancy Health and Fitness

It’s easy to see why Spark People is one of the more popular fitness websites. It’s a great resource to stay connected with your fitness and motivational pals. It’s also a great way to connect with coaches and personal trainers and receive great advice from other members.

Free Plan vs Premium Plan

One thing I’m disappointed in, is how much spam you have to sift through on the website. It wasn’t like this when I joined – but that’s what you get now with free websites. There is a premium plan and there have been plenty of discussions on whether it is worth it or not. Ultimately, that choice is up to you. I suggest trying the free website first and see how you like it.

Wih the premium plan, there are no ads which makes the site run faster – a lot of ads can contain spyware or malware which slows down your device. So, you might want to invest in good software like Ad Block or Malwarebytes to protect your PC.

The premium plan is now $5 making it by far, one of the cheaper alternatives for calorie counting, goal setting and tracking your fitness and weight loss progress.


Notable Mentions

Other apps were mentioned when I surveyed the fitness group. And while I am not familiar with these apps, I thought I would share them here so you can check them out for yourself. Going through the comments, it’s easy to see why My Fitness Pal is ranked as one of the top fitness apps.

  • Pacer
  • HUTTBURN
  • FitBit
  • JEFIT

What are your go-to apps for tracking calories and weight loss progress? I might have to sign up for MFP again and use it for the summer to track my food and see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted and follow up in a few months.

Thanks for reading!


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