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MyFitnessPal Review: Does It Truly Work?
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MyFitnessPal Review: Does It Truly Work?

Tracking calories is essential to many weight loss programs. And that’s what MyFitnessPal promises to do better than other calorie trackers.

myfitnesspal review
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Manually adding calories to a weight diary isn’t the most fun aspect of managing your weight. But without it, you can’t maintain a calorie deficit and lose weight. 

MyFitnessPal brings manual food scanning features to help you progress toward your goals, one meal at a time. Available both as a free and paid version, the app has over 1.4 million reviews in the App Store.

MyFitnessPal has become many people’s go-to companion in their weight loss journey. But does it really work?

Summary

MyFitnessPal
  • Diet and workout tracking
  • Detailed meal plans
  • Easy-to-follow workouts
Our rating:
4.2
Learn More
Pros
  • Huge food database
  • Integrates with many other health and fitness apps and trackers
Cons
  • Large ads
  • Slow navigation
  • Barcode scanner that doesn’t always work

MyFitnessPal helps you track how many calories you eat and burn through exercise. It’s a manual calorie counter with useful features like a barcode scanner, meal scan, and progress tracker

Find out more about the world’s best-known calorie counter in this MyFitnessPal review. Can it really help you lose weight?

⭐ Rating4.2 ★★★★
✅ ProsA huge food database, forms healthy habits
❌ ConsTime-consuming, price
🍎 Operational systemiOs and Android
🔔 Barcode scanner?Yes
💰 PriceFrom $9.99 a month

Alternatives Comparison Table

Joggo
MyFitnessPal
4.7
4.2

Personalized meal plans take into account your goals, preferences, and allergens

Personalized workout plan

Meal cards with ingredients help you discover healthy foods

Supports over 10 different types of diets

Shows your progress every step of the way, including exercise history

In-house specialist ready to answer your questions

Massive food database

Intuitive calorie tracking

Also tracks exercise

Requires premium subscription after the first run

Ads get in the way of the user experience

Doesn’t work well offline

Barcode scanner sometimes fails to recognize foods

Brand
Joggo
MyFitnessPal
Rating
4.7
4.2
Pros

Personalized meal plans take into account your goals, preferences, and allergens

Personalized workout plan

Meal cards with ingredients help you discover healthy foods

Supports over 10 different types of diets

Shows your progress every step of the way, including exercise history

In-house specialist ready to answer your questions

Massive food database

Intuitive calorie tracking

Also tracks exercise

Cons

Requires premium subscription after the first run

Ads get in the way of the user experience

Doesn’t work well offline

Barcode scanner sometimes fails to recognize foods

Review

What Is MyFitnessPal?

MyFitnessPal is the most popular food and nutrition tracker in the Apple App Store. With features like meal planning, calorie tracking, and workout routines, it’s a health app in its own right.

At its core, it’s a calorie tracker in the shape of a food diary. You manually log the foods you eat. The app then adds up the calories and other nutrients. It tracks these against your goal to lose, maintain, or gain weight.

The MyFitnessPal food tracker draws on a vast database to simplify the process of logging your own food. It also lets you track exercise and adjusts calories accordingly.

MyFitnessPal integrates with over 50 fitness tracker and smartwatch apps. This includes tracking calories, water intake, and macronutrients on your Apple Watch.

Does MyFitnessPal Work?

Many people use MyFitnessPal to lose weight. Some also use it to gain weight. MyFitnessPal makes calorie counting an organized and fairly simple process.

It does away with micro-management of every food for your calorie intake goals. Its vast database of foods and drinks makes finding the right food easy. In addition, meal scanning and quick food lists add to the convenience of the process.

MyFitnessPal can prove useful in your journey to lose weight. MyFitnessPal users often mention that the app helps them get rid of at least a few pounds. Whether the effect is long-lasting, however, is up for debate.

How Does MyFitnessPal Work?

MyFitnessPal is available as both a website and a mobile app. You can create a user profile through the app and the MyFitnessPal website. You then input your height, weight, and other basic information. Next, you set weight loss or weight gain goals.

You manually log foods through the app’s diary section. You can search for foods and choose them from a dropdown menu.

Portion control is more limited for some foods than others. But overall, the process is simple and intuitive.

You can create your own meals and foods. You can also quickly add previously added foods. In the long run, this can save you quite some time.

You can also log burned calories manually for cardio and strength workouts and other activities or sports. Extensor sensor integration makes it easy to pull data from other apps.

The dashboard page within the app provides an overview of your weight over time.

You can also log calories by scanning a meal or a barcode. The barcode functionality is limited to the US. You may not be able to count on it when traveling abroad.

The meal scanning feature recognizes foods on your plate with a fair degree of accuracy. You can also track your water intake.

The ability to create a meal, a recipe, or quickly add foods from a list further simplifies calorie counting. And that’s why MyFitnessPal is so popular. It makes calorie counting easy despite the repetitive nature of the process.

MyFitnessPal also automatically tracks your steps to calculate burned calories. What’s more, the ability to track your cardio and strength workouts saves you time.

The app is powered by a large community of users. When you sign up for the app, you get your own user profile. You can follow other users, comment on their progress, and exchange thoughts.

You don’t have to add these up separately and subtract them from your total calories.

While MyFitnessPal has added features over the years, it still relies entirely on manual input for counting calories. You have to keep telling the app how many calories you take in.

The app’s reliance on manual input calls for a bit of work. What’s more, it requires attention and dedication. Otherwise, you may easily skip, forget, or mistype information.

How Much Does MyFitnessPal Premium Cost?

MyFitnessPal Premium starts at $9.99 a month. There is no free trial, so you’ll have to subscribe to try premium features.

You can save money on the standard MyFitnessPal price by paying an annual subscription, which is $49.99 at the time of writing.

MyFitnessPal claims that premium members are “up to 65% more likely to reach their goals.” While this may be true, the free version in itself provides a rounded set of features.

At $9.99 a month, MyFitnessPal is cheaper than other weight loss apps like Noom, WeightWatchers Digital, or The Mayo Clinic Diet. But unlike these apps, it’s not a dedicated weight loss program.

MyFitnessPal Premium vs. Free

The free version of the app comes with ads and other limitations. Premium features include customized meal recipes created by registered dieticians, food timestamps, a barcode scanner, and guided workouts.

One important feature that is missing in the free version is macronutrient information. This means the app doesn’t show you how many proteins, carbs, or fats you consume. Depending on your fitness goals and diet, this may be a serious inconvenience.

The paid subscription removes ads. Since some of the ads can be quite intrusive, this improves the user experience. Since the latest version, the app also shows calorie goals per meal.

Do you want to maintain your weight and make informed choices about food? The free version provides enough functionality for easy daily tracking.

However, the premium version makes losing weight easier. Premium features like macronutrient breakdown and calorie goals per meal can help with weight loss.

In addition to weight loss, the premium version also makes building muscle easier. And speeds up the food logging process through the barcode scanner.

3 Pros of MyFitnessPal 

As one of the most popular fitness apps in the App Store, MyFitnessPal seems to have a lot going for it. But what exactly makes it stand out from other calorie counter apps?

Massive food database

The app includes over 14 million foods in its database. Logging dark chocolate, for example, you get lots of options from different brands.

This allows for quick and accurate tracking across all meals of the day. The database also includes plenty of restaurant dishes.

You can choose to see only verified food entries for maximum accuracy. Each entry provides useful nutrition facts, including vitamins. In this sense, the app acts as way more than a counter for calories.

It can provide nutritional education that can help you eat better and feel better.

Since its launch in 2005, MyFitnessPal has grown into a huge community. The community keeps the database constantly growing.

If a food is available at your local supermarket, it’s probably on MyFitnessPal too.

Convenient calorie counting

Getting started with MyFitnessPal is easy. Using the app for calorie logging is simple and intuitive. You can find foods and adjust portions with ease.

So that despite the repetitive nature of the process, MyFitnessPal doesn’t feel like work. Also, the more you use the app, the quicker food logging gets. Eating the same foods often also saves time on logging.

You can easily re-add commonly eaten foods, including your own foods and recipes. Adding these into the app requires some extra steps. But in the long run, they can save you plenty of time.

The meal scan feature, which uses your camera to identify foods on your plate, also comes in handy.

And, if you’re willing to invest in the premium barcode scanner, you get an even faster way to log foods. Plus, the accuracy that comes with logging specific brands of foods.

The app divides meals into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This can seem restrictive if you’re on a weight loss diet or skip some meals. But overall, the food logging experience is intuitive.

Supports your weight management goals

Research indicates that self-monitoring calories through mobile apps works. It can help you eat fewer calories and healthily lose weight. MyFitnessPal supports this.

If weight management is your key goal, MyFitnessPal can prove a useful aid. The digital calorie diary provides you with feedback and helps you track your progress.

By constantly showing your progress, it can motivate you to keep making healthy food choices. Overall, this app can be more motivating than other approaches to calorie counting.

What’s more, MyFitnessPal isn’t restrictive when it comes to diets and lifestyles. Whether you’re an averagely active person or a professional athlete, you can use it according to your needs.  

3 Cons of MyFitnessPal 

If you’ve stuck with us this far, you’ve seen that MyFitnessPal is not perfect. The app’s cons are not deal breakers. But it’s important to mention them as they do have an impact on the overall user experience.

UI and navigation could be better

A recurring disappointment among MyFitnessPal users is the user interface. While easy to get around, the UI feels like it could do with some polish.

Ads take a big chunk of the dashboard. More than taking up valuable screen space, though, they get in the way of navigation. It’s easy to inadvertently tap on them.

The same is true for navigating the app’s features. Navigation is slow and, at times, laggy.

Feature downgrading

This is a pain point that appears in negative reviews on both Google Play and the App Store. Over the years, the app’s developers have turned some free features into premium ones.

A notable example is the barcode scanner, which lets you log food faster. The stripping away of features from the free app can be especially annoying for older users who’ve used them for free initially.

All the more frustrating is that the barcode scanner doesn’t always recognize all foods. So there is a risk that you pay for a premium feature that may at times miss the mark.

Food logging doesn’t work offline

Out of connectivity? It’s going to be a problem. You won’t be able to access the MyFitnessPal database. In other words, you can’t log food without your WiFi or mobile data on.

While not a major drawback considering internet availability today, it can still be a problem in some regions. Or if you like to simply disconnect from the web for a while.     

On the plus side, you can still log exercises and other activities offline. Provided you create them yourself.

Is MyFitnessPal App Only for Calorie Tracking?

MyFitnessPal is, at its heart, a calorie counter. Logging calories is the app’s main feature. But the app also lets you track calories from cardio, strength training, and other workouts.

It also tracks steps and shows you your weight progress over the last 90 days. The premium version also features meal plans created by a dietitian and workouts with instructions.

However, MyFitnessPal may not work as a standalone app for losing weight for all people. A 2021 study indicates that exercise is crucial for a long and healthy life after weight loss.

Unlike MyFitnessPal, Joggo is more than a food database. It provides personalized workout programs adapted to your fitness goals. Created by expert trainers, Joggo workouts are easy-to-follow.

And since they take into account your fitness level, they can help you optimize results without the risk of injury. Check out the Joggo running app if you haven’t already.

Joggo
Running Training App Designed for Your Lasting Running Habits
  • Personalized running plans created by professional coaches
  • Meal plans perfectly tailored to your current diet, allergies, and health needs
  • Treadmill mode for people preferring indoor running
  • Educational articles on easier running, injury prevention, nutrition, and more
  • Behavior science-based reward system for lasting motivation
Our rating:
4.7
Learn More

How We Tested

The key factors we considered in our review are quality, effectiveness, price, and brand reputation. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Quality

From app functionality to user interface design, many factors define the quality of an app. We looked beyond the obvious features into the overall experience the app provides.

It takes time to determine how polished an app is. We tried all the app’s features while keeping an eye on any rough edges.

Effectiveness

Does the app work as intended? Does it help users achieve their health and fitness goals? Do all the features run smoothly?

While testing MyFitnessPal, we kept an eye on the functionality of the app. We’ve also noted when a feature, like a barcode scanner, didn’t always work as intended.

Price

MyFitnessPal offers a free version. But advanced features like the barcode scanner, macronutrient breakdown, and custom meal plans require a premium subscription.

We factored in the app’s price compared to other similar apps. We also made sure to explain plainly the cost of the app. This way, you know what premium features you have to pay for.

Brand reputation

Does the brand have a reputation for providing timely updates and maintaining a great user experience? Brand reputation matters in the competitive health and fitness app category.

We’re talking about apps that often require a long-term commitment of over a year. And come with annual subscriptions. That’s why we look beyond the app itself at user counts, reviews, and online discussions.

FAQs

Still got some questions about MyFitnessPal? Next, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this app.

Is MyFitnessPal free?

MyFitnessPal is free with some limited features. With the free version, you cannot track macronutrients like net carbs, protein, or fat. And you can’t use the barcode scanner to access custom plans.

What does MyFitnessPal do?

MyFitnessPal enables you to manually log the food you eat and calories you burn through exercise and other activities. It tracks calories in and calories burned against your pre-set weight goals. At the same time, the app provides health and fitness education.

With which devices is MyFitnessPal compatible?

The MyFitnessPal app works on iOS 14+ and Android 9.0+. It’s compatible with over 50 devices, including Apple Watch, Fitbit and Garmin trackers, and other brands. As far as device support goes, MyFitnessPal doesn’t disappoint.

A Word From RD

MyFitnessPal is not a weight loss program. But counting calories is one of the pillars of a successful weight loss strategy. And the app makes that a fairly quick and easy process.

Like other mobile apps for tracking calories, it requires perseverance. It doesn’t magically log calories for you. You still have to manually input each food.

You have to approach the app with a positive mindset. Otherwise, you may feel disappointed by the repetitive nature of the process.

But all this work pays off. Using the app, you will gain valuable nutritional knowledge. And by doing so, making smart and healthy food choices becomes easier.

At the same time, the ability to track workouts and calories burned in the same app can make your life easier. You won’t have to switch between apps all the time.

In the end, so long as you’re willing to put in some work, food tracking can help you reach your weight target. It’s valuable regardless of whether you follow a weight plan or not.

MyFitnessPal Review: The Verdict

MyFitnessPal can be a useful tool in your weight loss journey. It offers reliable food tracking features and helps you track food intake goals. You can easily check calories consumed and calories burned.

Since it’s such a popular app, it sustains a large community of users. And that spells continuous improvements and support in the years to come.

But you do have to put some work into it. Even with the barcode and meal scanning features, you still have to manually log your foods.

Ultimately, the value you get from MyFitnessPal depends on the quality and accuracy of your food logging.

Determined to log every meal and do it consistently? MyFitnessPal offers you one of the best calorie logging experiences on the market. Plus, the largest food database. It can encourage better eating habits.

But remember, it’s not a weight loss program. It cannot help you miraculously lose weight. Nor does it have a fitness component that’s as developed or appealing as that of the other apps.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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