Keeping track of what you eat helps you be aware of the food choices you’re making. When we get a baseline of the choices we are making, we can make adjustments and optimize our health. Better food equals better fuel.
The best tools are easy to use, are easily incorporated into our lifestyle, and make the process fun and rewarding. If the tool is too difficult to use then we won’t use it.
We’ve researched the whole app store and narrowed down the top 5 apps.
Noom Weight’s focus is on simplicity and ease of use. While lots of apps are loaded with information and layout features, Noom gets rid of the clutter and minimizes the layout. They have a built-in streak features that gives you instant feedback and tries to keep you on track. Their search algorithm is easy to use, almost like a google instant search. Once you choose a food item, it easily asks for your portion size, and then nicely displays your calorie budget remaining for the day. They have a colour system that shows if the food is ideal for weightless or not. If you upgrade to the pro version then you can join groups and have a support group where you can give high fives of encouragement, and share what you’ve eaten with a chat feature. Overall, Noom is extremely easy to use and we recommend trying it.
Life Sum take the approach of displaying your daily food intake in a circular display. As you track your food it fills up the outside of the circle so its easy to display your daily target. In the middle it shows how much calories to go to reach your goal. A handy feature is that it tracks your habits and will show these as favourites so that its easy to choose these meals in the future. There’s a barcode scanner so you can instantly scan from the label on the food. Paying for the premium will give you water intake tracking, daily progress tracking and more. A handy feature is the body stats tracker which keeps track of your weight, body fat, and other bodily measurements. Overall, the wheel display is nice format, and the extra features are a nice bonus.
Lose it displays the calorie levels in a horizontal bar chart style. It’s daily summary contains your nutrient breakdown in a pie chart showing the proportion of fats, carbohydrates, protein. The food log is a detailed vertical chart with all the food information. Also handy is your daily goals are displayed on a graph showing your overall progress. The question remains if there’s too much information or if it’s too structured. I find the food database to be very complex and sometimes hard to find the food item you’re looking for. Overall, its been known to be a leading app, however it could be too complex to keep using daily and it felt to robotic.
Another traditional leading app is MyFitnessPal. There’s a daily summary that shows a number of calories remaining, with multiple statistics of your daily goal number, how much food you’ve consumed, calories burned through exercise, and the net number remaining. The new feed shows your latest updates but I found it to have too much information. More detailed tabs show your food diary, exercise diary, calorie breakdown, progress measurement, friends, messages, apps & devices, reminders, settings, and help. Overall, there’s tons of information but I didn’t find it simple to use. There’s simpler apps that I’ve seen then this one.
The Jillian Michaels app brings her personal figure into the app, including personal motivation messages, which may help those needing encouragement. There’s a fitness planner, run tracker, exercise demos, food journal, tips, recipes, and community. There’s lots of selling trying to get you into paying for the membership so it definitely has a sales angle. Overall, its simpler to use then myfitnesspal and lose it, and a possible option to check out.
The Livestrong app is fairly straight forward. There’s a dairy page showing a simple bar graph of your remaining calories, icons showing you which food you tracked, a food log showing your foods you’ve ate, a progress page shows graphs of each day, community page shows a discussion thread of other users, and also a profile page. Doing a few searches I couldn’t find the foods I was looking for so their food database may not be as a big as the others. There’s also a running ad that’s displayed which can be distracting. Overall its a little nicer and simpler display, however it feels less developed than some of the others.
Not official word has been given about Apple’s upcoming health app, however its claimed to track multiple health variables including your nutrition. Time will tell how good or even if this app is developed, but if it follows Apple’s strategy of being simple and efficient then this will likely be a contender.
Which one is the simplest and most effective?
We found there to be 2 winners. If you want the app that is the easiest and requires least amount of effort, then Noom Weight is our top choice for simplicity. If you want more detailed app, with more information, graphs, progress charts, of other tracking capabilities, then LoseIt is our favorite app if you’re more advanced person. At the end of the day, if you choose Noom or LoseIt its the app that you use consistently that will be the best app. Try both apps and see which one works best for your lifestyle.