9 June 2013

A comprehensive food and exercise tracker, MyFitnessPal recently came first for user satisfaction in a Consumer Reports magazine survey of 13 popular weight loss approaches in the US.

To get started you need to tell it your current weight, height, sex, age and activity level and whether you want to lose, gain or maintain your weight.  Responsibly it recommends 1lb a week for weight loss, with a maximum of 2lb a week. Once you've set your goal, the App calculates a target number of calories you should net in a day. Net Calories = Calories Consumed - Calories Burned Through Exercise, so the more you exercise, the more you can eat.

Then use the daily food and activity trackers by entering details of everything you eat and drink (can be used offline). The databases are very comprehensive, UK friendly and less fiddly to use than some similar Apps, and have the added bonus of ‘remembering’ what you have eaten and done most often in the past, making it easy to add these items to your tracker.  

You can add in favourite foods and recipes, and scan barcodes to load nutrition information on packaged foods.  Other nutritional values such as fat and carbohydrate intake are also tracked. In addition, you can chart your weight progress and see daily and weekly summaries of your food and activity results.
Support options include motivational messages, MyFitnessPal members’ forums, your Facebook friends and a newsletter with tips and recipes.  

Summary: I recommend this UK and user-friendly App to support weight management. Research points to at least a doubling of weight loss when food intake, weight and activity are tracked. My only issue is that, like so many other Apps, it allows the user to enter unhealthily low target weights. Any weight management App should block weights that would lead to someone being classified as ‘underweight’, with information on healthy target weights.

App rating: 4 out of 5

Lyndel Costain

Cost from iTunes GB: Free