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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow MyFitnessPal vs. WW (WeightWatchers): Unraveling the Best

MyFitnessPal vs. WW (WeightWatchers): Unraveling the Best

HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 18, 2023
9 min read 1367 Views 0 Reviews
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Find your perfect match for weight loss success with our detailed analysis.

MyFitnessPal vs Weight Watchers

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

A specialized program can be a great first step for weight loss.

As these programs tend to cost money, deciding on the most effective product is essential. Nobody wants to commit to paying a subscription and not get the results in the end. So, you must do your research before attempting a diet or weight loss plan to reach your goals.

MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers (WW) are two esteemed apps. They both focus on healthy foods, calorie intake, and exercise tracking to help you get your dream physique while improving overall health. The only question is – how do you know which will bring you weight loss success?

Which Is Better: MyFitnessPal or WW (WeightWatchers)?

WW (previously Weight Watchers) appears as the better option between these two for weight loss.

MyFitnessPal is a great choice for self-motivators. It is a tool designed for counting calories and tracking your macronutrients. You can use it to take control of your diet with access to everything you need in one place. It promotes self-control and awareness of eating habits.

Weight Watchers might be more beneficial to those who prefer to have a support network. You can access the WW support group to communicate with others throughout your weight loss journey. Some people also prefer the points system instead of monitoring calorie intake.

4.3
stars
4.2
stars
Brand
WeightWatchers
MyFitnessPal
Pros

Easy food logging

No restrictions

Promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss

Encourages exercise

Flexible program

Encourages portion control

Accurate calorie tracking

Easy food logging

Huge food database

Thousands of recipes

Encourages exercise

No restrictions

Connects with other health and fitness apps

Cons

The point system may become tiresome

Encourages users to weigh themselves regularly

Not everyone will enjoy the in-person workshops

Issues with barcode scanning

Food logging requires manual input

Risk of misreporting

What Is MyFitnessPal?

myfitnesspal logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Easy food tracking and calorie counting
  • The extensive food database is highly convenient
  • Creates awareness and helps users take responsibility for their diet
Learn More

MyFitnessPal is a calorie-tracking app that supports people in reaching their nutrition and fitness goals. It is not a weight loss app per se, but it can help you lose weight by providing the tools to take control of your diet. Tracking your meals promotes more mindful eating.

You can use MyFitnessPal to create more awareness around your diet. The food logging function allows you to record everything you eat in a day. You can see a complete breakdown of calories and nutrients to better understand how the healthy foods you choose contribute to your weight goals.

Besides keeping a food diary, MyFitnessPal encourages users to develop workout routines to improve overall fitness levels. So, whether you’re struggling to shift weight, tone up, build muscle, or simply want to invest in your general health, this app can support you in getting there.

Pros
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    Exercise and calorie tracking
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    Easy food logging
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    No food restrictions
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    Coaching available with the premium version
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    Huge food database and thousands of recipes
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    Emphasis on physical activity
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    Integrates with other health and fitness apps
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    Free version includes the main tools for calorie counting
Cons
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    Occasional issues with barcode scanning
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    Still requires manual input
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    Some users might misreport

What Is WW (Weight Watchers)?

Weight Watchers logo
Our rating:
4.3
stars
  • Simplified point system to assess foods
  • Helps users make smart food choices
  • Customized weight loss plan
Learn More

Weight Watchers (WW) is a customized weight loss program that aims to change users’ relationship with food. It helps people lose weight through a specialized system that allocates different point values to food and healthy drinks, making it easy to recognize the best foods for weight loss.

Rather than solely focusing on how many calories you eat, the unique system takes into account important nutritional factors, such as fiber, protein, and saturated fat content. No foods are off-limits on this diet – you just need to remain within your daily point budget for weight loss.

The more points a food has, the higher it is in calories and unhealthy ingredients. You can eat as many zero-point foods as you wish, as these comprise low-calorie or zero-calorie foods. Tracking with the Weight Watchers app allows users to master portion control and mindful eating habits.

Pros
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    Easy food logging
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    No food restrictions
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    Personal coach available with premium plans
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    Extensive recipe database
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    Encourages a balanced diet and regular exercise
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    Promotes slow and sustainable weight loss
Cons
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    Too much freedom for some people
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    Encourages weekly weigh-ins to track weight
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    Counting daily points can get tiresome

Similarities

Although they have different approaches to sustainable weight loss, they do share some similar features, which we’ve explored in detail below:

  • Help you to create a calorie deficit – To lose weight you need to be burning more calories than you’re consuming, which both apps help you with. You can log your meals and exercise using MFP, which then calculates calories consumed and burned. WW counts calories for you through their unique points system.
  • Daily food diary – Keeping track of your food intake is easy, as both programs ask you to record everything you eat in your personal daily food diary. You’ll be able to view the nutritional content for every meal you eat, either in terms of calories and macronutrients or through WW’s points system.
  • Personalized plan – Both MFP and WW ask for your age, height, gender, current weight, and health goals. The apps then use this data to create a recommended calorie intake or points target that is personalized to your unique weight loss needs.

Community support  Whether you’re just starting your weight loss journey or simply need some extra motivation, both apps have their own online member communities. Members can interact, share tips, and hold discussions on the best ways of building a healthier lifestyle, which research shows is critical to successful weight loss.

Differences

While MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers help you work toward similar outcomes, i.e., reaching your weight and wellness goals, they have some key differences. Keep reading to discover what these differences are, to help you determine the best product for your needs:

  • Calories vs points –  MyFitnessPal is all about counting calories, with an extensive food database that asks you to manually enter all of your food and drinks. Weight Watchers instead focuses on nutrition data, using a points-based system to meet your unique nutrition needs based on your age, height, and current weight.
  • Education – MFP allows users to quickly discover the content of foods, including carbs, sugars, fiber, protein, and calories. WW focuses on educating users on how food intake affects their bodies differently, without focusing directly on teaching users how to create a calorie deficit.
  • Guided vs self-guided – Whereas MyFitnessPal provides users with the tools for calorie counting alone, those using Weight Watchers are supported through their weight loss by expert coaches.

App vs in-person – Another noteworthy difference is that MyFitnessPal is purely an app, whereas you can follow the Weight Watchers weight loss program without the WW app. You also have the option to meet up with the Weight Watchers group in person and online to measure lost weight and monitor your progress.

Benefits

Both programs offer benefits to users. With a mission to support you in making healthy choices when it comes to your diet, you can expect to improve your health with either of these apps. Still, it’s worth reviewing the primary advantages to see how they will deliver.

With more than 14 million foods stored in the MyFitnessPal database, recording what you eat daily is easy. You can quickly go into the app and add your meals for the day, with plenty of options to ensure accuracy. For example, you will find a list of brands when you search for a food item.

Making a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume) is an optimal strategy to lose weight, which is what MFP focuses on. You can quickly assess the number of calories in foods, and with a daily target, you can easily see whether you need to eat more or fewer calories to reach your weight loss goals.

The Weight Watchers diet plan offers similar benefits by encouraging you to lose weight gradually through eating a balanced diet. Losing weight slowly and steadily is always recommended to remain healthy and mitigate future weight gain. It prioritizes nutrition rather than restricting calories and banning foods.

Many people enjoy the social aspect of the WW platform. You can join a community of people on similar weight loss journeys to your own and share advice, tips, and motivational strategies. Knowing you have community support can help you stay on track and lift your spirits when feeling defeated.

Downsides

No health plan is perfect, and not everyone will have the same experience when using a particular app. There are always disadvantages that you should consider before purchasing a subscription or committing your time to a platform.

With MyFitnessPal, many users have reported experiencing tech issues. For example, some report problems when using the barcode scanning tool. It can only sometimes find the exact product you’re looking for, which can become frustrating and time-consuming.

Also, although the food database is extensive, it is not 100% accurate. It has gradually grown over time with the help of MyFitnessPal customers, meaning there is always room for possible mistakes thanks to human error. So, you cannot count on this app for complete and utter accuracy.

It’s great that Weight Watchers doesn’t forbid you from eating certain foods. The points system allows for a flexible diet, with more freedom to eat what you want for weight loss. However, there is no limit on zero-point foods. 

While foods with zero points are typically low-calorie, this freedom might lead some people to overeat, which can be harmful to your weight loss journey.On the other hand, following WW could potentially result in undereating. With a focus on points rather than calorie counting, some people might need to eat more to meet their daily calorie intake. This could slow down the metabolism and make it more difficult to lose excess pounds.

Cost

Price is an essential element when choosing a membership plan for losing weight. Improving your health and getting in shape shouldn’t break the bank. You should find a balance between the cost, features, and overall effectiveness. The right platform must fit your budget.

A free version of MyFitnessPal is available for those who want a simple device for counting calories, whereas Weight Watchers memberships are all paid. However, you’ll need to upgrade to MyFitnessPal Premium for full access to all features. At the time of writing this review, the pricing is as follows:

  • $19.99 per month
  • $79.99 per year (annual subscription)

Unlike MFP, WW has 2 membership options, which are Core and Premium. Core simply allows you to follow the program through the app, whereas with Premium you can attend in-person workshops. The price of WW therefore varies depending on the type of program you choose, and how long you want to follow it. The current pricing is shown below:

WW Core (cost per month)WW Premium (cost per month)
1 month$43$65
3 months$15$30
10 months$10$25

Best In the Weight Loss Category

Comparison Winner: Perfect Body
4.4
stars
4.3
stars
4.2
stars
Brand
Perfect Body
WeightWatchers
MyFitnessPal
Pros

Convenient shopping lists1,000+ recipes to explore

Options to incorporate physical activity

Easy to find ingredients

Nutritionist-tailored meal plan

Reasonable pricing to suit different budgets

User-friendly app and website

Easy food logging

No restrictions

Promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss

Encourages exercise

Flexible program

Encourages portion control

Accurate calorie tracking

Easy food logging

Huge food database

Thousands of recipes

Encourages exercise

No restrictions

Connects with other health and fitness apps

Cons

No free trial available

Unsuitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women

The point system may become tiresome

Encourages users to weigh themselves regularly

Not everyone will enjoy the in-person workshops

Issues with barcode scanning

Food logging requires manual input

Risk of misreporting

What is the main difference between MyFitnessPal and WW?

MyFitnessPal focuses mainly on calorie counting, whereas WW takes a wider range of nutritional information into account to create point values for food tracking.

Is it necessary for you to count calories in MyFitnessPal and WW?

You’ll need to count calories in MyFitnessPal, but not WW. WW uses a points-based system, which assigns a point value to foods based on their calorie and macronutrient content.

Do MyFitnessPal and WW offer a free trial?

Both MFP and WW offer 30-day free trials for their weight loss apps. This allows you to experience the benefits of a Core or Premium WW membership, as well as all the features of MFP premium.

How We Compared MFP vs WW

In writing this review, we turned our attention to several key factors: quality, effectiveness, price, and brand reputation. We assess these components to give you a solid overview before spending money. These factors ultimately sum up the pros and cons of each product.

Quality

Both WW and MyFitnessPal are good-quality apps for weight loss and management. The built-in functions make calorie and food tracking easy to manage. There is no hassle or fuss, only clear information to help you make wiser food choices and build healthy habits over time.

Effectiveness

You might find both of these to be among the best weight loss apps, as they promote a healthier lifestyle. Good nutrition and exercise tracking are the most worthwhile strategies to transform your body and overall health. Generally, you will need to upgrade to premium features to get the best results.

Price

Pricing immediately impacts whether or not you will try an app. WW can become quite costly if you decide to upgrade for additional features. The MyFitnessPal pricing is reasonable, but some more inexpensive alternative apps might offer you a better deal.

Brand reputation

MyFitnessPal and WW are two well-established brands. Their missions are clear – these companies want to give you more control over your health and fitness. Neither tries to limit or restrict what you eat. Instead, they help you incorporate better nutrition into your lifestyle.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Smartphone diet-tracking apps and other programs offer timely assistance when trying to reshape your body and diet. Tracking calories, recording workout routines, and keeping a food diary are all practical steps for your journey. They can help you achieve your health goals sooner.

As all platforms offer something different, try to determine what you truly want from an assistant device. You might want to eat fewer calories, follow a low-carb diet, or increase your intake of nutrients. Think about what you want before committing to any membership plans.

Talk to your healthcare provider before attempting any diets. It’s crucial to find a safe and suitable plan that doesn’t harm your health. Avoid programs that promote rapid weight loss, as they can be dangerous. Look for something that encourages good, long-term habits.

Conclusion

Both MyFitnessPal and WW are great tools for tracking nutrition. They can support you in eating healthier meals as you can conveniently assess the nutritional value of certain foods. Both can offer long-term aid for building a healthy relationship with food and losing weight.

However, the WW program seems like a better choice as it provides a wide variety of services.

Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Edna Skopljak, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, a general practitioner who also worked as a medical doctor at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology. In addition to clinical work, she has years of experience in medical research as an editor at a prestigious medical journal.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 18, 2023
9 min read 1367 Views 0 Reviews
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