Every Calorie Counts: Choosing The Right Food Diary App

Every Calorie Counts Choosing The Right Food Diary App, July 2021

When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, going to the gym alone is not going to help you bulk up. There’s a saying that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% fitness and I have to say, it’s entirely true.

While you can go about tracking your calories on your own, you are bound to miscount and make mistakes. One mistake or two won’t make the biggest difference, but it starts to add up and eventually you start getting major setbacks on your goals.

Having the right food diary app on your phone can help eliminate all of those mistakes and ensure that you are always on track towards your fitness goals.

I swear by food diary apps, especially if I am getting ready for a competition or simply want to look my best-come summer. A good food diary app means you aren’t guessing at all about what nutrients you are getting into your body and how many calories you are consuming per day.

I do want to say though that calorie counting gets a bad wrap a lot of the time in society. Before I talk about some of my favorite food diary apps, I want to address calorie counting and the pros and cons of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some negative aspects towards using a calorie counter, but it isn’t nearly as bad as society makes it out to be.

What’s the Deal With Calorie Counting?

From a scientific perspective, losing weight is easy. Your calories expended have to be greater than the calories that you consume. If this is the case, you are going to start losing weight.

On the other hand, if you plan on bulking up and building muscle, you need to ensure that your calorie intake exceeds what you are expending. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can ram junk into your mouth.

Calorie counting and food diary apps get a bad wrap, however, when it comes to eating disorders.

People who struggle with body image end up using food diary apps and calorie counting to starve themselves in the hope that they can get the body that they want.

I would never recommend calorie counting in a situation like that and would only recommend doing so if you can do it healthily.

When it comes to calories, you have to maintain a nice balance in your life. If you consume too many calories, you are going to end up putting on undesired weight.

If you eat too few calories, you are going to put your body in starvation mode and it is not going to get the nutrition that it needs.

Thankfully, food diary apps now start to warn you if you are either overeating an extreme amount or undereating. If you are greatly under your recommended calories for the day, a good food diary app will tell you that you have to eat more food.

Following these instructions will ensure that you get the progress that you are looking for while doing so in a healthy manner. This is why it’s important to find the right food diary app for you.

MyFitnessPal - Best Overall Food Diary App

There are plenty of food diary apps out there. However, none have reached the same popularity as MyFitnessPal.

What makes it so great? It’s one of the easiest food diary apps to use as you can log your foods and track your workouts without much difficulty at all.

MyFitnessPal also has one of the largest food databases in comparison to other food diary apps.

A feature that I absolutely love on MyFitnessPal is the barcode scanner as well. If you don’t know which entry to pick for your food, simply scan the barcode and the app will do the work for you.

There is a paid version of the app, but I find the free version does the job quite well and shouldn’t be a problem.

Keep in mind that there might be a few inaccuracies when using MyFitnessPal, especially with some of the more obscure foods. That being said, I trust MyFitnessPal and I think it is the best food diary app out there.

Lifesum - Best Food Diary App for Informed Decisions

When using Lifesum, I found it was one of the best food diary apps for helping me make informed health decisions when it came to meals and snacks.

Each food is given a rating and at the end of the day, you are given a daily report and a Life Score™. 

As I take the health of my body very seriously, I didn’t really need the food ratings, however, if you’re new to dieting and healthy eating, this food diary app is going to ensure that you are putting only the best into your body.

While you can use Lifesum for free, it’s when you pay for it that you fully unlock all the power in this food diary app.

You’ll instantly have access to pre-planned meals that are going to help with weight loss along with recipes that are extremely affordable for the average person.

Switching between the paid and free versions is easy as well, so you won’t feel like you are trapped. It is a fantastic food diary app and stands at the top alongside MyFitnessPal.

FatsecretMyPlate - Best Free Food Diary App

Apps like MyFitnessPal and Lifesum are great, however, you have to pay to unlock a lot of the features.

The FatSecret food diary app has its own paid subscription, but I find all I need is their basic free version.

It has an extensive exercise diary and weight chart and journal that can allow you to track your progress and feel good about what you are accomplishing. There are also plenty of recipes that are available on the app absolutely free.

The meal plans are locked behind a paywall but I found that you don’t necessarily need them. The fact that you can find all kinds of great recipes for free means you can construct your own meal plans with a little bit of research.

The app also has image recognition which makes logging your food easier than ever. I’d play around with the FatSecret food diary app if I wasn’t planning on spending money.

SparkPeople Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker - Best Food Diary App for Motivation

Dieting and exercise is not easy and there will be times when you feel like quitting.

What I loved about the SparkPeople food diary app is that it not only helped you stay on track with your diet, but it also helped you get the motivation you need.

In terms of the calorie counter itself, it’s a fairly standard food diary app that doesn’t do anything too special.

Where the SparkPeople food diary app shines however is the community it has built up. 

There are regular fitness challenges posted on the app along with message boards, member stories, videos, and even a blog.

If you are someone who needs a group to hold you accountable, you are going to love the SparkPeople app. 

I interacted with a few of the members and I was pleasantly surprised with how supportive they were.

They continually pushed each other to reach their goals in a healthy manner. This was definitely a surprise to me and I had such a great experience with the SparkPeople app that I had to list it.

Lose It - Best Food Diary App For Weight Loss

As the name of the food diary app implies, Lose It is designed to help out those who are looking to lose weight.

Because its primary focus is to help you burn fat, it’s going to promote healthy choices and want you to exercise and keep your calories low.

Logging my food on the app was fairly simple and I didn’t run into many major issues along the way. I will say, the one thing I did not like about the Lose It app is that it encourages daily weigh-ins. 

Your body weight does not change much from day to day and if you are seeing the same numbers on a scale every morning, it might discourage you.

I recommend weighing yourself once a week, therefore you can get a true indicator of your progress.

On the grand scale of things, Lose It does a great job of showing you your progress. There are weekly and monthly reports of your calories as well as a chart that shows your weight loss.

You can easily track how far you’ve come with this app and I definitely recommend it if you are looking to burn some fat.

Carb Manager - Best Food Diary App for Keto

While the keto diet has been around for quite some time, it only recently exploded in popularity.

The Carb Manager food diary app was created to help people manage their carbs and keep them low.

With the keto diet, eating one wrong food can kick you out of ketosis and ruin everything.

Having an app like this will advise you when you are going to exceed your recommended carbs. 

The free version of the app does have some great features, however, you might hit a limit when it comes to logging your food. If you are looking to use this app for keto, you are definitely going to need to open up your wallet for it.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to picking a food diary app, it’s all about finding something that works for you and your needs. A good food diary app will be incredibly easy to log your food in and will also encourage you to make healthier choices.

Don’t think that you can simply install a food app and start losing weight. It’s going to take some hard work and dedication to get that done. That being said, a food diary app can definitely help keep you on track towards achieving your goals.

Denver Matheson
 

I spend a lot of time at the gym and even more time in the kitchen giving my body what it needs to repair itself and grow stronger. The third most important place for any athlete is their research zone. That's exactly why this site exists, to help me share all of the information I've learned throughout the years just like people did for me in the first place!

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