Fit Healthy Momma Rating: 9/10
MyFitnessPal is a meal tracking app that includes a ton of features and resources that can help you to lose weight or achieve any other health and fitness goal by allowing you to become aware of the foods you’re eating and in what quantities. MFP makes tracking your meals simple, easy, and convenient thanks to its industry-leading food library and free access.
Tracking your meals can feel like an arduous task. But the truth is, if you want to optimize your health and control your weight, you need to be aware of what you’re eating and how much of it. So unless you’re willing to go the old-fashioned route and take out a pen and paper and start pouring over nutrition labels, you will need some tools to make the process easier and less stressful.
Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, lower your BMI, or improve your overall health, tracking your calories and/or macros can help you accomplish your goals.
MyFitnessPal is by far the most widely used and highly recommended meal tracking app on the market. I myself used MyFitnessPal for years before switching to using the 1st Phorm App, so I have plenty of experience and insight to share with you.
In this article, I’m reviewing MyFitnessPal so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision regarding whether this app is the right fit for your lifestyle and goals.
Quick Summary of MyFitnessPal Review
MyFitnessPal App for weight loss, exercise, diet, food tracking and more
Food tracking, measurement options, barcode scanner, personalized workouts, goal tracking
Weight loss through diet and exercise
Yes, but be prepared for ads
$9.99 per month
Avg. User Rating:
4.7/5 (Over 1.4 million reviews)
What is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is a meal tracking app that allows you to take control of your nutrition by making logging your food quick, easy, and convenient. For MyFitnessPal users, the app acts as your personal guide on your journey to better health. Users have access to daily calories, macronutrients, and micronutrient targets, all personalized for you and designed to help you reach your goals.
One of the best features of MyFitnessPal is its massive database of searchable food items. With over 300,000,000 available and more being added every day, this is the largest database among all the best macro tracking apps. Plus, users can download and use the app for free and utilize some of the most important key features, making this a very attractive option for those who want to track calories and/or macros.
- User-friendly app
- A huge database of foods
- Can track various types of measurements (i.e. grams, ounces, teaspoons, cups, etc.)
- Quick tools to help make logging quick and easy
- Educational resources and community features are available
- Many recipe creators enter their recipe calories and macros into the app
- There’s a version that’s completely free
- The app takes into account your daily exercise (which is not accurate, so you’ll need to turn that off)
- The baseline calories are often underestimated (so make sure you get an accurate count from a nutrition coach)
- Users can enter their own foods into the app, which means there’s room for error and inaccuracies
- Macro breakdowns are missing unless you upgrade to premium
- The free version is filled with ads (they gotta make money somehow!)
How Does It Work?
If you’re brand new to tracking your food, it’s important to have at least a baseline understanding of how MyFitnessPal works so that you can have an idea of how the app operates.
Here’s how it works:
- When you first sign up for MyFitnessPal, you will be guided through the app to set up your fitness profile by inputting your basic information.
- Based on your information, MyFitnessPal recommends a daily net calorie target for you to achieve your weight loss or weight gain goals.
- As you eat and exercise throughout the day, you will lose your meals and your exercise in the food and exercise diary areas.
- MyFtinessPal will then calculate the number of calories that you have consumed through food and burned through exercise to give you an estimate of how many calories you have left for the day.
- When you follow the guidelines given to you by the app, you should be able to reach the goals you are striving for.
- The more consistently you log, the easier the process will get because MyFitnessPal remembers your common foods and exercise habits and makes them easy to add to your diary each day.
- MyFitnessPal recommends that you weigh yourself and log it into the app at least once per week so that you can track your progress and adjust your calorie goals to reflect your new weight.
One of the biggest challenges with using MyFitnessPal for tracking your calories is the fact that they account for your movement in your day and essentially ask you to “eat back” the calories that you burn. This is not an ideal scenario as the calories burned during an activity are highly dependent on the individual and almost impossible to estimate. Therefore, users should NOT account for calories burned during exercise and should simply track their total daily calories.
There is a setting in the app that will allow you to turn this feature off. Your total calories per day should include your exercise already as it will be based on your average fitness level as identified in the steps you took to set up your profile.
Key Features and Benefits
MyFitnessPal is a well-thought-out food logging app that’s designed to set you up for success. By providing you with the tools you need to reach your goals, you’ll have access to everything you need to succeed. Take a look at some of the key features and benefits of MyFitnessPal below:
A Personalized Action Plan
MyFitnessPal curates a personalized action plan for every single user so they can get start on their journey to health on the right foot. With your action plan, you’ll have access to daily calories as well as your personal macronutrient and micronutrient targets.
You Realize the Power Of Tracking
Tracking and logging your food is about so much more than just counting calories. It’s a way for you to become aware of and take control of the foods that you’re eating. Awareness is always the first step to improvement.
The more you log, the more MyFitnessPal will get to know you and your preferences to help streamline the daily process of tracing and logging. This feature saves you a ton of time and energy and makes tracking more doable in the long term.
You Gain a Better Understanding of Food
Understanding what the foods that you eat are made up of is an incredibly impactful tool in your journey. This is especially true for beginners tracking macros. The simple act of logging your foods and then reflecting on how much of each macro and micronutrient are in them can help
you build the knowledge and tools you need to start optimizing your nutrition to reach your goals.
Access to a Giant Library of Foods
A calorie or macro tracking app is only as good as its library of foods to choose from. With MyFitnessPal, you have access to the largest library of foods, meals, and recipes available anywhere.
Speaking of accessing a library, MyFitnessPal allows you to quickly and efficiently scan the barcode of your food and the information will populate into the app for you.
Some people like to measure things in grams, others in ounces or cups. There’s no right or wrong way to measure and log your food, as long as you are consistent and accurate. MyFitnessPal allows you to customize your unit of measurement per food so that you can log how you wish.
Free vs Premium Membership
MyFitnessPal offers two types of memberships: free or premium membership. For most beginners, the free version will have plenty of features to allow you to get your feet wet with tracking calories and macros. However, for more seasoned trackers or for those who want to get more granular and specific with their goals, the premium membership can unlock another robust set of features that increase the app’s customizability and flexibility.
The free version of the app contains all of the features and benefits listed above, but MyFitnessPal premium offers even more, including;
- Ad-Free for fewer distractions and clutter
- Macronutrient breakdown by grams or percentage
- Food analysis to see which foods are best and worst for you
- Quick add macronutrients to calorie entries
- Set custom goals for different days of the week (perfect for carb-cycling)
- Exercise calorie settings so you can track exercise without impacting your calorie or macro goals
- Premium customer support
- Data export (nutrition details, progress history, and exercise history)
- Macros by meal so you can see the macro breakdown of every meal inside your daily log
- Calories by meal
- Food timestamps to track how the timing of your meals affects things like energy, workouts, and more
- Plan available for the coaching and content you need to reach your goals
- Recipe discovery for logging and bookmarking your favorite recipes
- Workout routines
- Net carbs can replace total carbs for convenient and accurate tracking
As you can see, there are a lot of convenient and compelling reasons why upgrading your MyFitnessPal membership to the paid version might make sense as you navigate your health and wellness journey.
How Much Does the Premium Version Cost?
Upgrading to MyFitnessPal Premium costs either $9.99 per month or $49.99 for a full year of access.
Is MyFitnessPal Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, MyFitnessPal can provide an excellent tool to be used on your weight loss journey. Nutrition plays a critical role in your weight, and awareness of what you’re eating and in what quantities is the first step towards optimizing your nutrition to help you reach your goals.
The tools and resources found inside the MyFitnessPal app will help those who would like to lose weight gain a better understanding of food, nutrition, macronutrients, and micronutrients and how they affect not just your weight but how your body looks and feels. With an understanding of how many calories you need to consume in order to be in a caloric deficit (which equates to weight loss), you can use MyFitnessPal to track and log your meals to ensure that you’re staying within your specific weight loss range.
Is Paid MyFitnessPal Worth It?
Yes, upgrading to the paid MyFitnessPal version is definitely worth it if you want to take your health and fitness to the next level. The upgrade to premium will allow you to make tracking your food and exercise much easier, which is critical, especially for beginners.
Plus, at just $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year, it’s a small investment to make into your health and fitness. Skip a trip to Starbucks each month and the app has paid for itself!
How and Where to Sign Up
Getting signed up for MyFitnessPal is really simple and can be done from your computer or by downloading the app on your phone. Once you’ve accessed the getting started page, you’ll be prompted to enter your information regarding your goals (weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance), your baseline activity level, gender, birth date, height, current weight, goal weight, and weekly goal so that the app can calculate appropriate calories and targets for you.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you can proceed to the app and start familiarizing yourself with its functionality.
Real MyFitnessPal Reviews and Average Rating
MyFitnessPal has generated over 1.4 Million reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars on the apple app store. Most people that use it love the free and the premium versions, with the free crowd only complaining about the ads they receive when using the app. There has been plenty of transformations and a lot of before and after success stories that back up the high rating MyFitnessPal has earned.
One person left a review saying,
"During the time I used the app, I lost 11 lbs."
Another customer reviewed the app noting,
"I use it for calorie counting and it gets the job done."
As with any product or service, we strongly encourage you to do as much research as possible before purchasing. Make sure you read through all the positive and negative reviews of MyFitnessPal so you feel good about going with it or not.
Alternatives Compared to MyFitnessPal
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not MyFitnessPal is going to be a good option for you and your health and fitness goals, here are some other options you can consider.
If you’d like to take your journey to the next level and have access to a one-to-one coach and mentor, an app like 1st Phorm will be incredibly helpful. The 1st Phorm app includes all the same features as MyFitnessPal when it comes to tracking calories and macros, but they include a whole wealth of additional resources to help you feel like you’re not on your journey alone. From on-demand chats with your personal advisor and daily educational live streams to a library of workouts, 1st Phorm is an all-in-one lifestyle app.
Read our 1st Phorm App vs MyFitnessPal comparison to get more of a feel of which is better for you.
If you’d like a more guided approach on your fitness journey, Noom might be a good fit for you. With Noom, you can get personalized feedback and guidance regarding the foods that you eat as well as your habits so that you can tailor them to suit your specific needs and goals.
Lastly, if you’re ok with tracking your food but want more of a diet-type approach, Weight Watchers (WW) is a good option. WW offers more guidance than just tracking macros and calories. With the WW program, every food is assigned a point value and you are required to track and eat in a way that helps you fit your points as opposed to your calories or macros
Final Thoughts: Is MyFitnessPal Worth It for Meal Tracking?
MyFitnessPal is the number one food tracking app for a reason; it works for meal tracking and weight loss. In my opinion, MyFitnessPal is 100% worth it for meal tracking, especially for those who are brand new to tracking calories.
However, for those who are tracking macros, I recommend that you upgrade to the premium version of the app to unlock some key features that will be super helpful from a macro perspective. The free version of the app can only get you so far, but will certainly get the ball rolling for you at the beginning of your journey.
I used and enjoyed MyFitnessPal for years and only switched when I fostered a deeper connection with 1st Phorm and got to know and understand the 1st Phorm app, which I believe is the most comprehensive macro tracking lifestyle app on the market.
Tips and Tricks for Success
If you’re serious about tracking macros, go ahead and invest in the premium version of the app. Not only will you get to avoid the ads and clutter that fill up the free version, but you’ll have more tools and streamlined simplicity to help you on your journey.
If the calorie and/or macro targets you receive from the app feel way off, consider hiring a coach or nutritionist to help you get more accurate numbers that are based on a more in-depth analysis of your lifestyle, diet past, and goals.
Purchase a food scale (I have this one) and weigh your food. Guessing and estimating your meal portions might work in the beginning, but you will eventually need to become more precise to achieve your fullest potential.
Don’t get too caught up in the numbers! If weighing, measuring, and tracking your food is triggering for you, consider researching some macro basics and then utilizing more of a “build your plate method” where you take the knowledge you have about macros and portion sizes and use that to build your meals.