For years I’ve been perplexed at MyFitnessPal’s popularity as a food tracker. It puts ads and articles in the way of the information you actually want, and the food database is so full of inaccurate entries they’ve added a badge system to indicate the ones that are probably correct. Plus, they’ve announced plans to put the barcode scanner behind a $20/month paywall, starting Oct. 1. If you’re looking for an alternative to MyFitnessPal, now is a great time to jump ship.
Fortunately, there are other apps that do what MyFitnessPal does, and many of them do it better. Barcode scanners are standard in the free version of plenty of apps, so let’s highlight one excellent alternative, and a few honorable mentions.
Cronometer is the best alternative to MyFitnessPal
The free version of Cronometer has a barcode scanner. It’s also long been better than MyFitnessPal on every metric.
- The database includes plenty of foods (including branded and restaurant ones), minus the weird user-entered ones that have incorrect data.
- Macros and even micronutrients like vitamins are viewable in the free version.
- You can customize the display so calories aren’t so front-and-center (especially useful if you want to track macros or just want to keep an eye on calories, rather than giving yourself a limit).
- You can enter custom foods and recipes.
- You can track trends on a few charts (more options are available in the paid version).
- You can get a weekly report of all your nutrients, including water, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
- The premium version (“Gold”) is $8.99/month, compared to $19.99/month for MyFitnessPal.
While the free version says it has ads, I’ve never noticed them. (I’m sure they’re in there somewhere.) And from a few items I scanned around the house, it sure seems like Cronometer’s barcode scanner is better than MFP’s. Both apps correctly scanned a box of Cheerios, a store-brand jar of coconut oil, a Barebells protein bar, and a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. But MyFitnessPal tripped up on a jar of Skippy peanut butter (“Sorry, we couldn’t find a match for this barcode”), a bag of Trader Joe’s rolled oats (it misidentified them as Dave’s Killer Classic English Muffins), and a squeeze bottle of Hellman’s mayonnaise (MFP scanned it as “light mayonnaise” at 35 calories per serving, while it was actually regular at 100 calories). Cronometer, by contrast, got all of them right.
This seems particularly worth nothing given many MFP users prefer the barcode scanner specifically because it’s more likely to bring up accurate results compared to the regular database, which is—as previously noted—a mess. Just switch apps. You’ll have a much easier time.
LoseIt is, to put it mildly, very focused on weight loss. You’ll go through an extensive motivational-interviewing style questionnaire before you even get to create an account. There’s no option to maintain your weight or to gain weight, only different rates of weight loss.
Once you get started, though, the interface is straightforward, and the barcode scanner works well. It recognized the peanut butter, the oats, and the mayo just fine.
If you want to upgrade to premium, it’s $39.99/year. (There’s no monthly option.)
LifeSum is another tracker with a nice interface and reasonably good functionality. (It allows you to set goals to maintain or gain weight, although you always get a big number showing your “calories left” for the day, as if they’re a limited resource, even if you’re gaining.)
The barcode scanner is free and recognized all the products I tested, but had the wrong calorie information for some of them: 85 calories for the mayo instead of 100, and 191 calories for the mac and cheese when it should have been 250. (Yes, I double-checked the serving sizes.)
If you want to upgrade for extra features, premium costs $14.99 for three months.
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