Nutrition apps are apps that help you balance your diet, whether you’re trying to be healthy or lose weight. For meal planning, a quality nutrition app can be beneficial. Keeping track of everything using just a calculator and paper can be nearly impossible.
Luckily, we reviewed some of the best nutrition apps currently available. Here are our favorites:
MyFitnessPal keeps track of nearly every point of nutrition. Just enter the food you consume each day, and it’ll keep up with everything from your macronutrients to your iron intake.
The app automatically sets goals for you, depending on your weight and goals. However, you can change these at any time. With the premium version, you can fine-tune your goals even more. For these reasons, it is our #1 pick.
If you’re looking for information on nutrition and not necessarily a diet-tracking app, Nutrients is the best option. While it does let you track your meals, it is especially useful for learning more about nutrition.
Our favorite part about this app is its accurate, fast facts on thousands of different foods.
3. Food Intolerances
This app was created for those who have food intolerances or allergies. It features more than 900 common foods and allergen information about each of those foods. You can quickly check to see which foods you need to avoid.
This app features in-depth filters and sorting, which is one reason we rated it so high.
MyNetDiary is an app that wears many hats. It works like a food diary, a calorie counter, and an exercise tracker. These features allow you to use this one app for most of your nutrition tracking needs.
We particularly loved this app’s fresh, modern aesthetics.
5. Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts contains information on nearly 9,000 food items. It is effortless to use, and all food items are sorted into categories so you can find them easily.
This app is perfect for those who want quality nutrition information, but don’t necessarily need the meal tracking that often goes alongside that.
6. MyPlate Calorie Counter
This app is based on the “MyPlate” nutrition method. It is user friendly and includes lots of easy-to-access nutrition information.
It comes equipped with a barcode scanner, built-in meal plans, personalized goals, and a considerable amount of information on familiar foods. You can also view detailed statistics about your nutrition.
If you eat out a lot, you need this app. This app helps you find the healthiest options no matter where you’re eating out. You can view the menus of many local restaurants and find a meal that fits your goals and nutritional needs.
However, it is missing many ordinary restaurants, which is why we ranked it lower on our list.
This app has one purpose – to help you track your water intake. You simply input how much water you drink, and the app will allow you to assess your hydration with a simple graph.
The basis of this app is free, though an upgrade is required to unlock all features.
Shopwell helps you make healthy choices while you’re shopping. Just enter your fitness goals and nutritional information, and the app will help you chose between food items.
Scan barcodes as you shop or take a picture of your receipt when you’re done for a complete breakdown.
Snap a picture of your plate with this app for a nutritional breakdown of your meal. This app encourages you to make non-weight related health goals and create a visual journal of your meals.
You can also use this app to help you time how long you wait between meals, which is helpful if you’re trying to establish new habits.
How We Ranked
When considering each app, we put a lot of emphasis on the amount of value it provided. Apps that were mostly free that also came with lots of features, like MyFitnessPal, were ranked higher than apps that were more expensive with fewer features. We ranked apps lower that required expensive subscriptions instead of one-out payments as well since these apps will cost more in the long run.
Secondly, we considered how helpful the app was at helping you eat healthier and lose weight. Many apps allowed you to track your meals, like MyFitnessPal and Nutrients. However, other apps were more specific in their purpose, like Waterlogged and Shopwell. While these apps are beneficial in certain situations, they’re less useful overall due to their niche features.
If you have the money and time for these specific apps, we recommend them if you think they’ll benefit you. However, if you can only choose one, we recommend selecting an app that focuses more on track, as these tend to be the most useful overall.
Thirdly, we took a look at how easy the app was to use. Some apps had great ideas behind them but were challenging to use. We did not include these apps on our rankings. Instead, we aimed for apps that had modern, streamlined layouts, like MyNetDiary. An app isn’t handy if it is difficult to use.
Fourthly, we tried to include apps that were available on many different devices. We aimed to include apps that benefit all of our readers, who may have Androids, iPhones, or something else entirely. However, some apps were so great that we felt the urge to include them even though they were only available on specific platforms.
Finally, we considered the overall cost of the app. Some apps were costly. Even though they often included many different features, the price was often not worth it for many of our readers. We looked for inexpensive apps that were very useful for nutrition, not expensive apps that were likely over what our readers were looking for.
Nutrition apps can reduce the chance of heart disease. Heart disease is closely linked to nutrition. Fats, oils, and sugars have been shown to caught coronary heart disease in at-risk populations (1). If this describes you, it would be smart to reduce these foods in your diet, as well as those that contain n-3 fatty acids and other similar ingredients.
Of course, it can be difficult for many people to figure out what their food contains. You may think you’re eating a low-fat diet when you aren’t. Nutrition apps can be beneficial in these instances. With a high-quality app, you can figure out precisely what is in the food you eat and plan your meals accordingly.
Many apps allow you to create your own nutrition goals and track your meals, allowing you to aim for a low-fat diet if you need to.
Nutrition apps can lower your chance of type-2 diabetes. The rate of type-2 diabetes is rapidly increasing in the United States. By some counts, over half of the adult population likely has undiagnosed pre-diabetes. Being overweight is carefully linked to diabetes. However, other nutritional factors play a role as well (2).
Both diabetes and pre-diabetes are managed heavily with diet. The main goal is to improve insulin resistance since this is what characterizes diabetes. In general, doctors recommend that these patients reduce their energy and fat intake by around 30%. Of course, it varies massively from individual to individual. You should always speak with your doctor about making dietary changes. Luckily, many nutrition apps allow you to set personalized goals, which enables you to use them to manage these conditions.
The type of carbohydrate you consume can also be necessary (3). However, it can be challenging to figure out what foods contain carbohydrates. Many nutrition apps can help you with this dilemma by providing nutritional information for food, allowing you to make a more informed decision about what to eat.
Nutrition apps can lower the risk of cancer. Certain studies have linked nutrition to cancer risk. A healthy diet has been shown to reduce your risk of cancer, as well as your risk of dying from cancer (4, 5). The nutrition advice often given to reduce cancer risk is very similar to the information provided to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which we have already discussed.
The American Cancer Society recommends maintaining a healthy weight throughout life through a balanced diet and plenty of exercise. They also recommend limiting your consumption of red meat and processed meats, like lunch meats. You should eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruits every day, and choose whole grains over other grain products (6).
All of these can be very difficult to keep up with, especially if you’re just starting to take a look at your diet for the first time. Quality nutrition apps can be beneficial at showing you what’s in certain foods and helping you keep up with your intake.
Nutrition apps can help you lose weight. Nutrition is vital for anyone who is looking to lose weight. Weight loss is the result of a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Half of this equation is the number of calories you burn in a day, which is tied to your activity level. However, the other half is the number of calories you consume in a day, which comes from your diet.
It can be challenging to figure out just how many calories is in certain foods we eat, however. If you eat lots of processed foods, you’d probably be surprised by the number of calories in some of the foods you eat. A nutrition app can be beneficial at helping you figure out the calorie content in certain foods and planning out your meals to ensure you aren’t eating more than you need to. Some nutrition apps even provide direct assistance by offering tips on healthier alternatives to some of your favorite foods and helping you compare diets while you’re shopping.
Nutrition apps can set your children up for better health outcomes. The way you eat directly affects your child’s health. Not only does your child directly pick up on your eating habits as they grow, but you can directly affect your children while they are in utero if you are their mother (7, 8). This is commonly referred to as “fetal programming.” Being deficient while pregnant in certain nutrients has been related to everything from cardiovascular problems to cancer to decreased brain growth as your child ages.
Furthermore, fetuses can taste what you’re eating after their tastebuds develop, which may set them up to like or dislike certain foods in the future. For example, a study that looked at rats found that when their mothers were fed “junk food” while pregnant, the pups were more likely to choose junk food later on (9). These findings are likely very similar in humans.
Furthermore, studies have found direct proof that maternal obesity and excessive fat and sugar intake is directly linked to obesity later in life (10). In other words, if you eat lots of sugar, fat, or are obese, the chance of your children being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes is much higher. It is likely that the high intake of fat and sugar “programs” the fetus to crave more of these foods and affects insulin production. This fetus eventually is born and grows into an adult that already has pre-diabetes and a craving for sugary foods.
If your pregnant or plan on being pregnant in the future, now is the time to take control of your nutrition with an app. If you’re already a parent, your children are watching you, making it even more essential to consume a healthy diet.
Nutrition apps can lead to a better mood. Studies have found that adults that consume a low-glycemic diet experience fewer and less severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. They also experienced less anger and fatigue. This is especially true in adults who are obese or overweight (11).
Low-glycemic foods are those that do not raise your blood sugar sharply because they are not absorbed very quickly. Sugars and simple carbohydrates are very high-glycemic because the body absorbs them very quickly. Fats and proteins take a little bit to break down, which makes your body absorb them much slower. You can eat high glycemic foods as long as you pair them with low glycemic foods.
Of course, keeping up with how glycemic food is can be difficult, especially if you’re planning our whole meals. Luckily, many nutrition apps include a glycemic rating for foods, allowing you to pair high glycemic foods with foods that take longer to digest.
Nutrition apps can improve your memory. Some studies have found that certain foods and dietary choices can affect your mood, behavior, and cognition later in life (12). Eating plenty of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to the better maintenance of mental functions such as memory, for example, which can prevent dementia and other cognitive disorders later in life. Other nutrients might also be related to cognitive functioning. Your best bet is to eat a balanced diet that is low on refined carbohydrates and different sorts of junk food.
It can be nearly impossible to keep up with all the different nutrients your body needs, however. Nutrition apps can be very useful in these instances. Many apps keep up with the nutrients you consume, so you can ensure that you’re eating enough of the nutrients your body needs. Most allow you to set personalized goals as well, so you can be sure to consume exactly what you need.
Nutrition apps have little research backing them. There is very little research involving nutrition apps directly and whether or not they work for most users. Because of this, we simply don’t know their effectiveness at helping you lose weight and enacting real change on your diet. In total, one study found that there were only four studies in total done on the effectiveness of these apps, and many of them were quite small (13).
Because of the lack of research, we simply don’t know much about the side effects of using these apps. There are likely lots of side effects and negatives that we have yet to discover. There is a certain level of risk involved when using anything for your health, especially when there hasn’t been much research in the area. We recommend working closely with your doctor on top of using a nutrition app to make sure you’re getting accurate information and eating the proper diet for you. Nutrition apps do not replace a doctor, especially if you have health conditions that impact your diet.
With that said, the little research that has been done on these apps as found positive results and suggests that these apps may help you lose weight.
Nutrition apps may include incorrect health information. Many nutrition apps include at least some health information, such as how much sodium you should consume or what percentage of your diet should be fats (14). However, this data is not always accurate and may not be appropriate for you, especially if you have certain health conditions.
You should not rely on nutrition apps to take the place of your doctor. Preferably, these apps should be used besides your doctor, and you should edit your daily goals as per your doctor’s advice.
Furthermore, many apps did were not very safe “under the hood” either. Even apps with robust privacy policies often did not encrypt their user’s information, which means it was easily accessible to anyone who knew how to get it. None of the data sent to the developer’s server was transmitted, and none of the data sent to third-party advertisers was encrypted as well. This includes information the app sent to third-parties for survey purposes.
Be very careful about any information you put in any health app and assume it might be shared with a third-party. Be sure to use a quality app as well, such as one that we discuss in our rankings section.
The more you use a nutrition app, the more you’ll likely benefit from it. If your app includes tracking, it is vital to track each meal and snack you eat. Otherwise, you won’t get accurate information about how many calories or nutrients you’ve consumed.
Of course, you should also ensure that the information you’re entering about each food is accurate. Many apps include a barcode scanner. However, the news this scanner picks up is not always trustworthy and might be rounded by a great deal. Use the barcode to enter your food quickly, but double-check the information to ensure that it is correct.
If the app includes information about foods as opposed to tracking, check it whenever you aren’t sure what’s in your diet. You might be surprised to find what your favorite foods have in them – even foods you considered initially to be quite healthy. You don’t have to check everything you eat necessarily. However, the more you check, the more informed you’ll be.
For more niche apps, use them whenever you feel the need. For apps like Shopwell, use them whenever you’re shopping and need to compare two objects. Apps like Waterlogged should be used whenever you drink water. Otherwise, the information and graph in the apps won’t be correct. In other words, use the apps as they were designed. If the app requires an input of information, be sure to provide all that information. The app cannot contain accurate information otherwise.
What is the best app for nutrition?
There are two main types of nutrition apps: those that focus on tracking and those that seek to provide information to their users. Some apps do both, but most focus on one or the other. If you’re looking for an app to help you track your meals, MyFitnessPal is a reliable option. This app has a hefty free version that will be plenty for the vast majority of users. It can keep track of all your meals and provides information about your macro- and micronutrients. The app crowdsources all its data, which means that most common foods already have their data stored within the app. This makes logging each food extremely easy and straightforward.
If you’re just looking for an app to provide information about certain foods and aren’t necessarily interested in tracking everything you eat, then the Nutrients app is the one to get. This app doesn’t provide tracking but does include information on thousands of different food items. If you need to avoid foods with specific contents or are trying to prevent things like saturated fats, this app can be beneficial.
Is there an app that calculates nutrition?
Yes. Many different apps can calculate nutrition based on the information you put in. Our favorite app of this sort is MyFitnessPal. This app allows you to input all of your meals and snack quickly. Then, it creates useful nutrition graphs and similar features to give you an excellent overview of everything you ate. It provides percentages for your macronutrients, warns you when you’re reaching your max sodium or sugar goal, and lets you know which foods are the best for reaching your goals.
On top of this app, though, there are a few other options as well. MyNetDairy is another popular one that is highly rated.
How do health apps track nutrition?
How most health apps work is relatively straightforward. You input the food you eat, usually with the help of a barcode scanner and pre-loaded database. Then, the app takes that information and compiles a list of nutrients you’ve consumed. This allows the app to get a pretty good idea of what you’ve eaten and where your diet could improve. Many apps provide tracking from macronutrients as well as micronutrients. You can also set personalized goals on many apps to help you eat a specific diet.
Of course, this tracking mechanism is not entirely fool-proof. Many different factors go into what nutrients your body absorbs. Just because you eat it, doesn’t necessarily mean your body gets to use it. Nutrition apps are sometimes designed to take these other factors into account. However, they can only get so accurate. You also have to keep in mind that there will be natural variation between natural food items. Not all bananas have the same amount of potassium, for example. Keep in mind that all nutrients tracked are just estimates.
What is the best app to count carbs?
For meal tracking, we preferred the MyFitnessPal app. This app has a pre-loaded database with thousands of different foods in it so you can quickly find nutrition data for whatever you’re eating. It also has a barcode scanner that allows you to scan pre-packaged foods to receive nutrition information about it. You can customize your own calorie goal for the day, though the app will suggest a goal based on your weight, activity level, and goal weight. Furthermore, it also keeps up with your macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. You can set personalized goals for many of these things as well.
What nutrition app is best if I have to avoid certain foods?
Almost none of the nutrition apps in our rankings section will tell you to eat certain foods. They don’t provide complete meal plans. Instead, they often offer information about the food you eat and help you track your meals. With that said, if you’re looking for an app that specifically enables you to avoid the food you aren’t supposed to be eating, Food Intolerances is an excellent option.
This app provides information about hundreds of different foods and provides allergen information about them. If you’re having a hard time avoiding what you’re intolerant or allergic to, this app is a solid choice.
Otherwise, if you just need help with tracking, you can use MyFitnessPal or any other app we’ve recommended. They all work for those with food allergies or intolerances.
Will nutrition apps tell me how much to eat each day?
Most of them. The vast majority of apps will ask you questions about your current weight, goal weight, and activity level and then provide you with a calorie goal for each day. Many will also provide you with macro goals as well as goals for other nutrients. You can often change these goals if they do not fit you for whatever reason – like if you’re pregnant, for instance.
Is there an app to scan food labels?
Many nutrition apps also scan food barcodes. This allows you to quickly find the food you’re looking for and upload it into your meal tracking. MyFitnessPal is a top-rated app that also comes with a barcode scanner, though there are plenty of other apps available as well. Most top-rated nutrition apps will have a barcode scanner, but be sure to double-check before you purchase one if this is a make-or-break feature for you.
Shopwell is an app specifically designed for grocery shopping that allows you to compare different food items by scanning their barcode. It is designed to help you make healthy decisions while you’re purchasing your groceries. This app also allows you to scan receipts from participating stores.
What is the best free food tracking app?
MyFitnessPal has a free version that has all the features most users need. If you need a free app for tracking, you really can’t beat this one. It does have a premium version if you need some of the advanced features, but we found that most users won’t need them.
What is the best food diary app?
As we have previously discussed, we preferred the MyFitnessPal app for everything related to nutrition and food tracking. This app provides accurate information and a massive range of foods and allows you to input food manually if it isn’t already in their database. You can even make recipes in the app, allowing you to track homemade items that might be difficult to figure out otherwise. Plus, all of these features are for free.
There are premium features as well. However, most users will not need them and do perfectly fine with the free version. This is not an app that requires a subscription to be helpful by any means.
How do you track nutrition?
By far, the easiest way to track nutrition is to use an app. Otherwise, you’ll need to figure out the nutrition data of all the food you eat by yourself, do the math to figure out the content of each meal, and track down the nutrition information of every item you put in your mouth.
Nutrition apps can do all of this for you. Often, they have their database of foods that come pre-loaded with nutrition information, so you often never need to put in anything manually at all. Sometimes, they can even scan the barcode of food directly to upload the nutrition information into the app. Of course, apps also allow you to input food manually if you’re eating something obscure they don’t already have in their database.
Nutrition apps can be helpful whether you’re looking to lose weight, eat healthier, or manage certain diseases like diabetes. These apps help you track your food intake and nutrient intake, as well as provide nutritional information about a variety of foods. Using these apps may help prevent certain diet-linked disorders like diabetes and heart disease, as well as help you manage these conditions if you already have them.
While there has yet to be much research on nutrition apps, preliminary studies have shown that they might help assist in weight loss. However, there have been some concerns about the security of nutrition apps.
For FitBug’s #1 recommended nutrition app, click here.