Before you go on a diet, you need to understand how to calculate the calories in each dish you consume. It will help you avoid over-eating your calorie intake. However, not everyone knows this, so why not try to find the calorie counter apps’ help?
According to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, only about 38% of Americans maintain a healthy diet (based on the Healthy Eating Index). Also, not everyone is familiar with the knowledge of healthy nutrition and is exposed to high-calorie foods before, so they often find it difficult to lose weight.
Dieting is a long journey which requires a lot of understanding and determination with the goals you have set. In particular, building a diet suitable for your physical strength is very important.
Measure the number of calories in each achieving the desired weight loss effect. Luckily, several apps track the nutritional content of every meal from your phone.
MyFitnessPal is a software that tracks diet, and daily nutrition widely used all over the world.
MyFitnessPal is like a social network, a place to share knowledge and update the diet of the day. With MyFitnessPal, you can record your day’s workouts and count your calories. Anyone who has a busy life wants to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. It is a free application available for Blackberry, Android, Windows, and iOS.
When the app asks you to register, you can do it through Facebook or an email with a nickname. If you are afraid of privacy invasion, do not worry, you can set your profile wholly hidden or allow your friends to see only a few in the newsfeed.
You will need to enter some parameters, such as weight and gender, to calculate your needs and goals. Here is where most people leave the app. Because the calculated calories are very basic, it could bias them.
But there is the trick. If you already know how many calories you should take to lose weight or to maintain weight, or even to gain, you can go to “Other”, “Goals” and “Goals on calories and Macros” to change the calorie target.
Still, in that context, you can arrange the percentage of the macros set. By default, we think they are 50/30/20, but you can set them as you prefer. Denote that if you buy the Premium version, you can also set the specific macro. Otherwise, only the percentage is not too bad because by doing some testing with the portion, you can get the data you prefer.
Also, in the free version, it is impossible to set different macros for weekdays, which would be fundamental, for example, if you do carb cycling, an exclusive function of the Premium version. At the registration, they ask you for a target of physical activity. Usually, in the form of duration in minutes of the single session and session number per week, it can be customized later by going to “Other” and “Objectives” and “Fitness Objectives”.
Well, now that everything is ready! Then, put everything you eat into the app. Here, it becomes a challenging thread initially because when you insert a voice as if to say “Zucchini”, many matches of results will appear, which to choose? Here we have some suggestions:
- Use the English voices: They are the conventional ones of the National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, so be on the safe side.
- Use the certified entries, i.e., with the green tick next to them
- Look in English: It is paradoxical compared to the above item, but it can be useful if you are out and have eaten one peach or 2 figs or things like that. In Italian, you can only find values for 100gr while in English, you have the benefits for “1 medium peach” or “1 small peach”. It is approximate, but it can be done.
In the diary, you will enter all the foods that are included in your nutrition. Initially, just click on “+ Add Food” under the meal you are about to make. As you can see, immediately, another screen will open, represented by the app’s search engine, where we will find the archive of the foods to be searched and inserted in the food diary.
The application provides us with two simple search methods:
- Manual mode: By addressing the name of the food in the search bar. You can be more precise by entering information such as brand, the supermarket where to find that food, the pure taste of the product. Click on the specific one you are looking for, and you’re done. The information screen of that selected product will automatically open.
- Scanner mode: By clicking on the scanner symbol, it will immediately open your device’s camera. Point it to the barcode on the package, and the app will automatically open the information screen for that specific product.
Check the Macros
At the end of the diary page, there is a “Nutrition” button, which opens a screen relating to a summary of the data entered. You can see the pie chart of your macros by clicking on “Macronutrients” to know if you are on the right track.
Or by clicking on “Nutrients,” you will have the values in grams, not only of the three macros but also of micronutrients, fiber, sugars, etc. Finally, by clicking on “Calories”, an orange graph will show you how you have distributed your calories in the various meals.
All contents are beneficial for evaluating what to add as a final snack or similar, but the weekly function is even more useful. By clicking on “Today” and selecting “Week view,” you can see all the graphs and parameters above but related to the entire week. We recommend monitoring these things!
The thing we like most about MyFitnessPal is the ability to insert recipes. Every time you experiment with a method that you will reuse, you can create a recipe, adding all the ingredients, the number of portions provided for the total, and here is the nutritional table of your dish!
And every time you make them again, you just have to look for the name of the recipe as before, the macros and calories will be entered automatically. In the web version of the app, you can enter the URL of the method, and magically MyFitnessPal will search for a match for each ingredient.
It is a useful function, but all the ingredients are then revised because sometimes the app makes terrifying errors, and the result is abnormal.
To understand how things are going, you can periodically insert control parameters. You can easily add the percentage of body fat if you regularly do bioimpedance measurements.
Over time, all these values will form a series of Cartesian graphs that can be viewed in the “Progress” section. In the web version, it is also possible to consider how things have gone in the food diary in recent months, how many calories you have eaten, how many training sessions you have done, etc. You must click on “Report” and then choose the parameter that interests you.
Other App Features
MyFitnessPal is one of the most useful apps we have ever used for its simplicity, and it took two days to become practical. But above all, it helps to keep control of the incoming calories to achieve the specific objectives that we pose.
What we will show you in this article represents only the basis of what this beneficial technology offers us. As mentioned several times, many other free and non-free functions can test our curiosity as we get to know the app more deeply.
Other useful features include:
- Graphs that show us the nutritional trend and the management of macro- and micro-nutrients
- Figures that show us how the road is progressing towards its goal;
- The section dedicated to periodic checks of Weight, Circumferences, and Photos of the “Before and After”;
- Possibility of obtaining fitness and other recipes through the community in the Home section of the app;
- Create and insert new and creative methods with all specific nutritional details;
- However, learning how to count calories is written in the previous paragraphs of this article.
If you eat the same breakfast every day, click on the three-dot symbol on the left of “Add food” and make a copy. Or you can click on “Add food”, then choose “Meals” and finally “Breakfast yesterday”. There are many other tricks and quick ways of this type, which allow you to do a very similar diet every day and not have to rewrite everything.
If you cannot find the food you are looking for, you can enter it by yourself. It applies more than anything else to packaged foods.
You can also choose “Quick calorie insertion” if you already know how many calories you have eaten, and you are not interested in putting the correct macros.
Advantages of MyFitnessPal
With MyFitnessPal Premium, you can record everything, and you are well aware of the diet. In this sense, it’s useful to use it even for two weeks with sufficient quantity, adapt to your goals, and continue without the app.
If you already eat clean but feel your diet is a little irrelevant, it’s useful to use it to insert a portion of food in the daily plan balancing the other macros.
If you love cooking and have been following a very standard nutritionist’s regime for months or years and want to change a little, MyFitnessPal helps to create the recipes that are correctly inserted in your diet without distorting the nutritionist’s advice.
Risks and Defects
Users enter the values entered. If they are wrong, they will get you all wrong. Get smart, check several times especially at the beginning.
The MyFitnessPal approach is IIFYM style, which is a useful but incomplete approach because it does not teach you to eat well. And especially for IIFYM, a gram of carbohydrate is always a gram of fat regardless of the source. There are other factors involved (glycemic index, type of sugar, etc.).
You must first learn to eat well and healthy and then use MyFitnessPal. Otherwise, the risk of abolishing vegetables and fruit, eating many packaged things will cause having an excessively dirty diet.
We strongly advise from using this app to people who have an attitude with obsessive tendencies towards food, because having to check everything and insert everything can be counterproductive. An app is a tool. It is you who decide how to use it. But if it creates anxiety, forget it!
Most people have the basic version, free, but there is a premium version that costs $49.99 per year (or $9.99 per month). These are the advantages:
It allows you to vary the macro and calorie targets on the various days of the week
It will enable you to set macros for individual meals not only for the entire day
It allows you to set macro goals in gram and not just in percentage
It is ad-free
There are other upgrades in the premium version which, however, are of lesser importance. The premium version is unnecessary to use the app.
The free version of the app is already complete and well usable, although we do not rule out upgrading. If you start, the basic version also works very well and will not create problems.
MyFitnessPal MOD APK is a free app that allows you to track your caloric intake and daily macros and keep physical activity under control. iOS, Android, and Windows Phone are available.
There are other similar ones, such as YAZIO Calorie Counter. In the last note, if you are followed by a nutritionist, dietician, or nutrition specialist, and you want to try this app, talk to him/her first. Because sometimes, it can be counterproductive, and being followed in person is always better than using predefined apps.
If you have any question, leave your comment below!