People often talk about losing weight and increasing exercise. But how do you figure out how many calories you burn in a day? What are the best apps for calorie deficit? This blog will discuss how to calculate the number of calories you need to lose weight and how to pick the best apps for calorie deficit.
One of the most difficult problems that people face is weight loss. If you want to know how to lose weight, then you need to know how many calories you should consume each day. The best apps for calorie deficit will help you create your diet plans. Weight loss is possible, and it’s possible to lose weight in the right way. With the right apps, managing your diet will be easy. These apps will help you monitor your weight and the rate of your weight loss.
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best apps for calorie deficit and working out
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Calorie counter apps make logging food and activity quick and easy. They also give you insight into lifestyle habits, nutrient quality, meal timing, and how often you’re meeting your daily goals. Plus, these apps replace the old-school paper and pencil method of logging calories, which can be difficult to maintain.
The best calorie counter apps are designed with extensive food databases, barcodes for quick scanning, calorie and nutrient tracking tools, recipe ideas and meal plans. Some apps are free to download and use, while others require a paid subscription to access premium features. Many food and fitness apps allow you to log and track exercise, but this is not a requirement to be a calorie counter app. With that in mind, here are the best calorie counter apps.
Best Overall: Lifesum “With Lifesum, you’ll not only enjoy a simple and quick way to count calories, but you’ll also learn how to eat healthier.”
Best for Motivation and Community: SparkPeople Calorie Tracker “You get access to a robust community forum and a support network full of health and fitness professionals who are there to help you.”
Best for Diet Support: MyNetDiary “In addition to its great calorie counting features, MyNetDiary also boasts extreme connectivity to wearables and phones.”
Best for Weight Loss: Lose It! “Lose It! has a food database boasting more than 7 million food products, from produce to packaged foods to restaurant meals.”
Best for Keto: Carb Manager “Carb Manager also has plenty of keto-friendly recipes for when you’re in a pinch for ideas, as well as meal plans and shopping lists.”
Best for Simplicity: ControlMyWeight “With ControlMyWeight, you can get laser-focused on just the calories, which, in the end, is what will drive weight loss.”
Best with Lots of Features: MyFitnessPal “You can accurately track nutrients and count calories on any diet, with a personalized diet profile and the flexibility afforded by the app.”
Best Completely Free: Calorie Counter by FatSecret “Enjoy a food diary, large food database, exercise diary, weight chart and journal, and a vast collection of healthy recipes.”
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Lifesum
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Why We Chose It: Lifesum is our pick for best overall calorie counting app because of its focus on healthy eating, the importance of quality foods, and an easy-to-use calorie tracker.
Combines calorie counting with healthy eating
Includes barcode scanner and picture recognition
Log and track calories, macros, water, and exercise
Daily food rating on goals
Paid subscription required for premium features like meal plans
Can only import and export data to and from Apple Health
Does not include coaching or community support
Lifesum is also one of our favorite best diet apps because of its flexibility, ease-of-use, integrated platforms, and motivational components. With Lifesum, you’ll not only enjoy a simple and quick way to count calories, but you’ll also learn how to eat healthier, plan for meals, understand the nutrient quality of different foods, and more.
If you’re just getting started, you can opt for the app’s kickstarter three-week weight loss program, during which you’ll get pre-planned meals, easy five-ingredient recipes, shopping lists, and support for as little as $4.17. From there, you can continue with another Lifesum plan or revert to the free version and simply count calories and track nutrients on your own.
Lifesum’s calorie counter feature includes an impressive food database and a barcode scanner for easy logging. Lifesum also supports macronutrient and net carb tracking, so if you need to count calories on a keto diet, Lifesum will work for you. No matter what you track, Lifesum gives you daily reports and a Life Score™ so you always know how you’re doing.
Best for Motivation and Community: SparkPeople Calorie Tracker
SparkPeople Calorie Tracker
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If you tend to feel demotivated about health and weight loss efforts, you should try the SparkPeople Calorie Tracker app. Not only will you get everything you need in a calorie tracker—such as a food database, barcode scanner, meal planner, exercise journal, and more—but you also get access to a robust community forum and a support network full of health and fitness professionals who are there to help you.
The SparkPeople community component also features regular health and fitness challenges, which can help you stay motivated with a surge of extra support. The message boards, member stories, instructional fitness demo videos, and SparkPeople blog add multiple elements of support.
Best for Diet Support: MyNetDiary
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Why We Chose It: We chose MyNetDiary as the best for choosing a specific type of eating style because it allows you to focus on things like calorie coutning, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, and Keto types of eating plans.
Easily log and track calories, meals, exercise, and nutrients
Includes barcode scanner
Choose a nutrition focus like Keto, vegan, macros
Weekly target tracker
Connects with Apple Watch, Garmin, Google Fit, Samsung, Fitbit, and Withings
Limited activity options
Emphasis on food tracking for weight loss
Advanced tracking options require premium subscription
If you want to do a little more than just count calories, you can track all of your nutrients specific to any diet with MyNetDiary. In addition to a basic calorie counter tool, MyNetDiary allows you to set a focus, such as macros, paleo, or keto.
First, you set your targets and plan by answering a few questions that MyNetDiary uses to create your daily calorie budget. You also get to choose your desired weekly weight loss rate, macronutrient intake, and target weight loss completion date. Then, you can start logging food in the app (pro tip: Log ahead of time to better adhere to your day’s meals and save time during the workday).
In addition to its great calorie counting features, MyNetDiary also boasts extreme connectivity: You can connect the app to products from Fitbit, Apple Watch, Withings, Garmin, Google Fit, and Samsung.
Best for Weight Loss: Lose It!
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Why We Chose It: Lose It! took the top spot for weight loss because of its large database of food, focus on calorie counting, and community support.
Free version is enough to get started
Large food database and restaurant items
Includes barcode scanner
Upgrade to paid subscription required for premium features
Encourages daily weigh-ins
Some calorie counts are inaccurate
Overall, Lose It! is a great weight loss app, largely because it provides app users with such a simple way to log and count calories. Its four main features—goal-setting, food and exercise tracking, app and device integration, and community platform—make this app an easy addition to any health efforts you’re currently pursuing.
Lose It! has a food database boasting more than 27 million food products, from produce to packaged foods to restaurant meals. You can also create your own recipes to quickly log calories in one touch for recipes you eat often. For example, if you eat two eggs and two pieces of whole-wheat toast every morning, you can create a recipe and log the entire meal at once, rather than logging the individual items each morning.
On top of that, you can use the app’s barcode scanner or Snap It feature, which allows you to log food via photos (did you know that logging your food with photos helps you become even more aware of your eating habits?) To keep you on track with your goals, Lose It! provides weekly and monthly reports of your calorie and nutrient intake, as well as graphs to show your weight loss over time.
Best for Keto: Carb Manager
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Why We Chose It: If you’re following a Keto lifestyle, then Carb Manager is an excellent way to log and count calories and other macronutrients.
Easy-to-use macro calculator
Low-carb recipes and meal plans included
Tracks markers like body measurements and weight
Focuses on the Keto diet
Free version has minimal features
Might hit a limit for entering food on free version
Part of following the keto diet is tracking your nutrients, specifically carbohydrates. If you’re already tracking nutrients, you’re inherently also tracking calories—why not make it easier and way more fun with Carb Manager, one of the best tracking apps for keto?
Carb Manager makes it easy to stay in ketosis and maintain or lose weight with three different calculators: A keto calculator allows you to track carbs and net carbs; a nutrient calculator allows you to track protein, fats, and other nutrients; a calorie calculator brings it all together and shows you your total food consumption for the day.
Carb Manager also has plenty of keto-friendly recipes for when you’re in a pinch for ideas, as well as meal plans and shopping lists to make your life easier.
Best for Simplicity: ControlMyWeight
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Why We Chose It: ControlMyWeight is all about logging and counting calories, earning it our top spot for simplicity.
Verified food data
Specific focus on calories
One-time payment, no monthly fees
Only for Apple iPhone and iPad
No export or print function within app
Minimal features other than calorie tracking
ControlMyWeight is the app for anyone who just wants to count calories — and that’s it. There’s beauty in simplicity, and that shows with ControlMyWeight. When you open the app, you’ll be faced with a visually appealing, easy-to-navigate interface. The number of features on ControlMyWeight doesn’t compare to most of the other calorie counter apps on this list, but that’s exactly the point.
If you do need a little help, ControlMyWeight still has your back: You can set up the app so that it sends you push notifications throughout the day, reminding you how many carbs, fats, and sugars you’ve eaten to help you stay on track. The app also features very simple weight charts so you can visualize your progress.
Best with Lots of Features: MyFitnessPal
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Why We Chose It: MyFitnessPal earns the top spot for features. This app allows you to log and count calories, track exercise, view weight loss progress, and connect with friends for support.
Largest food database available
Includes barcode scanner
Connects with over 50 other apps
Tracks exercise and calories burned
Free version is enough to get started
Free version does not have recipe suggestions
User-generated foods with macros may be wrong
Daily calories and weight prediction may be inaccurate
Health and fitness advocates and professionals herald MyFitnessPal as one of the best healthy-living apps on the market. That’s with good reason: MyFitnessPal makes food logging and calorie counting easy with its simple interface and food database of more than 11 million food items (by far one of the largest available—most calorie counting apps have databases of 10 million or less).
MyFitnessPal also has a barcode scanner that recognizes millions of food products; a restaurant logging feature with meals from popular restaurants; a recipe importer so you can import nutrition information from your own recipes; and, perhaps best of all, an automatic calorie counting feature that compiles your calorie intake from all the food you log.
With MyFitnessPal, you can accurately track nutrients and count calories on any diet, thanks to the personalized diet profile and flexibility afforded by the app. To celebrate your success, check out the weight charts and nutrition insights. And don’t forget to upload progress photos!
Best Completely Free: Calorie Counter by FatSecret
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Why We Chose It: Budget-conscious calorie counters will enjoy this fast and easy calorie counting app from FatSecret.
Free version is all most users need
Food diary for logging and tracking
Large collection of recipes and nutritional info
Exercise diary, weight chart, and journal
Paid version unlocks premium features like meal plans
Focus is on food and calories more than physical activity
Most of the calorie counter apps on this list have free versions and paid versions. If you are looking for a calorie counter app that’s 100 percent free and still contains all of the features you need for successful calorie counting, go with Calorie Counter by FatSecret. We covered this great app as one of our picks for the best keto apps, but it also works as a calorie counter and food diary for any diet.
Calorie Counter by FatSecret is fast, simple, and comprehensive: Enjoy a food diary, large food database, exercise diary, weight chart and journal, and a vast collection of healthy recipes to support your efforts. This app also features image recognition of food, making it easier than ever to log and track calories, as well as a unique diet calendar to visualize when you eat and burn the most calories.
Calorie counting apps are a great tool to use when trying to lose weight, change eating habits, or track your macros. Although most apps come equipped with tools for logging and tracking food (and calories), some do a better job at keeping it simple and efficient. All of the apps we reviewed have a free version, but they also require a paid subscription to access premium features. That said, the free version of Lose It! and FatSecret are often enough for most people. If easy access and quick tracking top your list of must-haves, consider ControlMyWeight, which has a specific focus on calorie tracking. But if cleaning up your eating habits while also counting calories is important, then download Lifesum, our overall pick for best calorie counter app.
Calorie Counter Apps vs. Nutrition Apps
Calorie counter apps are designed to turn your smartphone into a food and activity calculator and tracker. With the ability to scan barcodes, snap pictures of popular food items, and quickly search thousands of items, calorie counter apps are changing the way people lose weight and maintain health. Nutrition apps — also referred to as macro tracking apps — are very similar to calorie counter apps. Like a calorie counter tool, nutrition apps give you one place to log and monitor calories and nutrients. Where they may differ is in the charts, graphs, and data they display. For example, a nutrition app may share more insight into the amount of protein or carbohydrates you’re consuming, whereas a calorie counter may be set up just to display a running tally of your daily calories.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Counting Calories Help Me Lose Weight?
Many experts and studies point to counting calories as one of the best ways to lose weight.1 Many successful weight loss methods work by consuming fewer calories and burning more calories through exercise to create a calorie deficit.2 However, we recognize that weight loss is complex and can be difficult for many and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for losing weight. But by tracking the number of calories you’re consuming and burning, you can get motivated to hold yourself accountable and succeed in your weight loss goals.
What Is a Calorie Counter App?
A calorie counter app is a program you can use on your mobile device to keep track of all the calories you consume and burn throughout the day. The main feature of calorie counter apps is the ability to record calories and nutritional information. But many calorie counter apps have other helpful tools such as activity trackers, barcode scanners, meal planners, support forums, workout videos, and the ability to sync with wearable trackers or other devices or apps.
How Much Do Calorie Counter Apps Cost?
Some calorie counter apps are free to download, but they may be limited in terms of functionality. In many cases, you can make in-app purchases to gain access to premium features or buy a monthly or yearly subscription, which can range from approximately $2 to $10 per month. The more expensive calorie counter apps will usually offer special features such as personalized feedback, customization, and access to fitness videos.
To be considered for this list, the calorie counter apps must have a free version, but still provide enough features to make it helpful and worth using. We also considered the food database, and if it included a barcode scanner for quick entry. Apps that allow you to track calories from popular restaurants and grocery-store items were also given priority. And finally, we looked at several online reviews and customer ratings to gain insight into the daily use of the calorie counter apps.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.