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Are you using macro tracking apps?
All weight loss plans require you to log your food intake so you can see exactly what goes in and what needs cutting. Whether you're tracking fat, calories, or carbohydrates, you need to know where to start and where to look when the scale isn't moving in the right direction.
There are a plethora of websites and apps available for just this activity. So how do you figure out which one of the million online macro tracking apps or food log sites is the best for you?
Well, I've tried a few, here are my thoughts on the top 8 macro tracking apps out there today.
Cronometer is my all-time favorite tracking app. I love it because it has settings specific to the ketogenic lifestyle, includes a fasting tracker, and tracks micronutrients.
This app is so smart it will even suggest foods for you to hit your micronutrient targets. It works on desktop or mobile devices and provides the most comprehensive picture of what you're eating.
CarbManager is another tracking app that is super popular among folks following a low-carb or ketogenic lifestyle. This app tracks net carbs, so if you're not counting total carbs and are subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols, this one may be a good one for you to try.
I didn't really care for this one myself. I found the food database to be inaccurate and the interface is clunky.
MyFitnessPal is probably the most popular tracking app out there today. It's very easy to use and connects with a lot of other apps. I like this app just fine, but it doesn't allow you to customize macro targets enough in the free version. I haven't tried the paid version, but if you're just starting out, the free version may be enough for what you need.
Before Cronometer, FatSecret was my favorite tracker. Not only can I enter all the food I've eaten in a day or plan for the next day, but there are forums, recipes, groups, a journal, and tons more great tools. You can even log in from your Blackberry, iPhone, or Android phone. Think of this as a FaceBook for people looking to lose weight. I hear it's similar to SparkPeople, though I've never checked this one out.
FitDay seems to be the most popular around the net. I couldn't get into this one, the social piece of the puzzle is definitely missing. I need to read about others' experiences to keep myself motivated. You can do this on a weight loss forum alongside your online food log. But I thought it was cool to have it all in one place. FitDay also seems a little off on some of the counts, so if you do decide to use it make sure you double-check and if in doubt go with the label on the food you're logging.
I tried My Plate for just a little while. Not bad, the interface is clean and I like that FaceBook connect is integrated. This one was just a little too simple and boring for me. But it does have a journal and a recipes section.
I've never used CalorieKing, but I see it mentioned on boards and forums quite often. This site seems to be more accurate in macronutrient counts then FitDay. There are mobile apps for this site and people really seem to like it.
MyFoodDiary is another one that is built around the community. I haven't tried this one yet, but just looking at the home page I'm reminded of Shape magazine. The site is clean and seems to be user friendly. There are forums and mobile apps to go with this site as well. If I ever tire of FatSecret I think I'll give this one a whirl.
No matter which one of these macro tracking apps you use, there is definitely not a shortage and it's extremely helpful to keep a food journal. It will help you stay on track and pinpoint issues if you start to stall in your weight loss.
Did I miss one? Share your tools in the comments. I'd love to know how you're tracking and what you're using.