Calorie Counter
Myfitnesspal Online Calorie Counter and Calculator Diet Review

Myfitnesspal is an online calorie counter designed to help weight loss. We look at whether a free calorie calculator is as good as it sounds.

Myfitnesspal Online Calorie Counter

By Rebecca Walton, wlr team

What is Myfitnesspal?

Myfitnesspal is an online calorie counter designed to help weight loss. The site, which is basically a calorie calculator, was built by two brothers for their own weight loss needs and then shared with the world.

News for 2015, Myfitnesspal has joined with Under Armour

What’s the Theory Behind Myfitnesspal?

Just like other online diets such as Sainsburysdiets, the whole system is based on calorie counting. The more consistently you track your food and exercise, the more likely you are to lose weight. By allowing you to build a food diary, you use it as a calculator and monitor your calories.

MyFitnessPal focuses on logging and calculating calories, plus contact with other members via weight loss forums.

You Get More with Weight Loss Resources

With WLR, you get the functionality of Myfitnesspal, plus all the tools and resources essential to helping you lose weight and keep it off.

We make sure that all of our data is verified with manufacturers, and give you expert content along with support from our dedicated Helpteam.  You’ll learn about portion control and how to change your eating habits for life.

Why not take our free trial and see how we give you more.

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How Does Myfitnesspal Work?

Myfitnesspal uses an online food and exercise database. Over time, the online database learns from your input. Many people eat the same foods regularly and My Fitness Pal remembers what you've eaten (and the exercise you’ve done most often), and feeds them into its calories counter.

Is the Food Database Accurate?

The food database is extensive. However, you’ll find when you start using it that there are lots of duplicate entries. Every food that is added is put straight into the search function allowing any member to find it. People from different countries with different methods of measuring such as g/oz or cups/tbsp, have all added to the database, meaning that the food diary can be cumbersome and frustrating to use.

When searching for foods, multiple options come up and there is no way to view the calorific information for items before you add them. You could therefore add a food, realise the calorie content is clearly wrong or other data missing, then have to start again.

A search for ‘tomato, raw’ for instance returns 80 entries many of which are duplicates.  

Similarly Cadburys Twirl has 18 separate entries with no indication of which one is correct, until you add it to your diary (and then you’ll need the packet in front of you to check it’s the right one).

When looking through foods to add there is some info explaining who entered the item and how many people have confirmed that the data is accurate. For example (member submitted, 3 confirmations).  This is the only way you have of checking that the information for the food item may be correct.

Myfitnesspal Support

The only support is provided via the members’ forum.  There are no guides, articles or dietitian’s advice.  There is no dedicated weight loss support team.

If you decide to post on the forums, your query runs the risk of getting overlooked, plus any advice you do received is not moderated and not from people qualified in nutrition.

How Much Weight could I Lose with Myfitnesspal?

The online calorie counter calculates that you could lose up to 2 lbs per week

How Much Does Myfitnesspal Cost?

Myfitnesspal is a free to use website. All web pages have picture advertisements on them which will generate the income required to keep Myfitness pal free to use.

Can I Try Myfitnesspal Before I Join?

Yes, there is no commitment to sign up.

Is Myfitnesspal User Friendly?

When you first log onto the site, it appears very easy to use and is attractive both visually and technically.  The site is easy to navigate, as you would expect from IT people.  If you get stuck or have a question, you can read the FAQ or post on the forums in the hope that someone sees your message.

Is There a Mobile App?

Yes, although the sheer volume of data makes it very slow to use - we gave up after 5 minutes when the mobile app crashed trying to look up wholemeal bread.

Are There Articles and Dietitians Advice?

No.  Members are encouraged to post their advice, but the size of the forum means that there is a rapid turnover of posts. There is a FAQ section for technical queries.

Are the Forums Helpful?

Although there are posting guidelines, not much notice is taken of them; there is an awful lot of superfluous material, personal adverts and insulting/offensive posts on all the boards.  Many members use the forums as a soap box to air their own (often incorrect) opinions and there are cultural clashes as the site is global.

Can I Keep Track of Exercise?

Yes.  However certain exercises are not counted towards your calorie quota.  Strength training for instance is not included as it “is very difficult because it depends on a variety of factors” according to the FAQ.

Are Graphs and Reports Available to Reflect Progress?

Yes, charts and reports are available, based on calories and other nutritional information. If you have used a quick calorie option to input calories only, then they will be irrelevant.

Where Does the Calorie Information Come From?

Mainly members input. There are some records from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture).

WLR’s Verdict:

Certainly one of the more popular free diet sites available at the moment, Myfitnesspal is a basic online calorie counter and calculator:

  • Input what you eat
  • Input your exercise
  • Set a weight loss goal
  • The calculator projects your possible weight loss

As always, it’s a reduction in calories that will shift those pounds. But you need support and information to make a lifestyle change to keep it off.  Without these things, myfitnesspal is simply a basic calorie counter and a forum.

Short term weight loss may be possible by restricting calories, but there is no support for the long term. Ultimately, it’s far better to get a personalized service and commit to get fitter and healthier with WLR.

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If you're not sure which diet programme is going to be best for you - try the tools in WLR free, for 24 hours, to help you find out what your real needs are and what dieting method could work well for you. Start our Free Trial.

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