There are many people who struggle to lose weight, and some of them even have to deal with a calorie deficit. People are always looking for suggestions when it comes to diets that are going to best suit them, and this blog post is going to look at some of the best apps for a calorie deficit.
As the summer waves roll in and the temperature rises, your typical person may start to feel a little less than motivated to move around. One solution to the lack of motivation is to increase or decrease caloric intake accordingly. This blog is a compilation of apps you can use to track the calories you’ve consumed and the calories you’ve burned in a day. This is a helpful article to use if you’re looking for something to motivate you to move more.
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Weight loss apps are programs you can download to your mobile device, allowing an easy and quick way to track your lifestyle habits such as calorie intake and exercise.
Some apps have extra features, such as support forums, barcode scanners, and the ability to sync with other health and fitness apps or devices. These features aim to keep you motivated toward your weight loss goal.
Not only are weight loss apps easy to use, but many of their benefits are supported by scientific evidence.
Several studies have shown that self-monitoring may promote weight loss by increasing awareness of your habits and progress (1, 2).
Many modern apps also provide specific support for people who follow keto, paleo, and vegan diets.
Here are 10 of the best weight loss apps available in 2021 that can help you shed unwanted pounds.
Lose It! App
Lose It! is a user-friendly weight loss app focused on calorie counting and weight tracking.
Through an analysis of your weight, age, and health goals, Lose It! generates your daily calorie needs and a personalized weight loss plan.
Once your plan is established, you can easily log your food intake into the app, which pulls from a wide database of over 33 million foods, restaurant items, and brands.
Additionally, you can use the app’s barcode scanner to add some foods to your log. It saves foods that you enter frequently, so you can quickly select them from a list whenever you eat them.
You’ll also get reports of daily and weekly calorie intake. If you use the app to keep track of your weight, it will present your weight changes on a graph.
One feature that makes Lose It! different from many other weight loss apps is that it has a Snap It feature, which allows you to track your food intake and portion sizes simply by taking pictures of your meals.
Studies have shown that taking pictures of your meals may help you keep track of portion sizes more accurately and observe trends in your dietary intake, both of which are helpful for promoting weight loss (3, 4, 5).
Another highlight of Lose It! is its community component, where you can participate in challenges with other users and share information or ask questions in a forum.
The app is free to download. You can access some premium features for $9.99, or sign up for a year for $39.99.
Lose It! has a team of experts that verify the nutrition information of foods in their database.
You can sync the app with other weight loss and fitness apps, including Apple Health and Google Fit.
Lose It! doesn’t keep track of the vitamins and minerals that you consume, but they explain why.
The food database is missing some popular brands that you might expect to find otherwise.
Calorie counting can help many people lose weight (1, 2).
MyFitnessPal is a popular app that integrates calorie counting into its strategy for supporting weight loss.
MyFitnessPal calculates your daily calorie needs and allows you to log what you eat throughout the day from a nutrition database of over 11 million different foods. This even includes many restaurant foods that aren’t always easy to track.
After you enter your food intake, MyFitnessPal provides a breakdown of the calories and nutrients that you consumed throughout the day.
The app can generate a few different reports, including a pie chart that gives you an overview of your total fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumption.
MyFitnessPal also has a barcode scanner, which makes it easy to enter the nutrition information of some packaged foods.
You can also track your weight and search for healthy recipes with MyFitnessPal.
Furthermore, it has a message board where you can connect with other users to share tips and success stories.
The app is free to download. You can access some premium features for $9.99, or sign up for a year for $49.99.
MyFitnessPal has a “Quick Add” feature, which you can use when you know the number of calories you ate but don’t have the time to enter in all the details of your meal.
MyFitnessPal can sync with fitness tracking apps, including Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Garmin, and Strava. It will then adjust your calorie needs based on what you burned via exercise.
The nutrition information of the foods in the database may not be entirely accurate, as most of them are entered by other users.
Due to the size of the database, there are often multiple options for one food item, meaning you may have to spend some time to find the “correct” option to log.
Adjusting serving sizes in the app may be time-consuming.
One potential way to shed pounds is by keeping track of your exercise habits with a wearable activity tracker (6, 7, 8).
Fitbits are wearable devices that measure your activity level throughout the day. They’re an excellent resource to help you track physical activity.
The Fitbit can record the number of steps taken, miles walked, and stairs. The Fitbit also measures your heart rate.
Using a Fitbit gives you access to the Fitbit app, which is where all of your physical activity information is synced. You can also keep track of your food and water intake, sleep habits, and weight goals.
Fitbit also has strong community features. The app allows you to connect with your friends and family who use Fitbit. You can participate in various challenges with them and share your progress if you choose.
Depending on the type of Fitbit you have, you can set alarms as reminders to get up and exercise, and Fitbit will send notifications to your phone to tell you how close you are to your fitness goals for the day.
Additionally, you receive awards whenever you achieve a specific goal. For example, you may receive the “New Zealand Award” once you walk 990 lifetime miles, signifying that you’ve walked the entire length of New Zealand.
The Fitbit app also allows you to log your food so you can stay within your calorie range, and your water intake so that you can stay hydrated.
Before deciding, try comparing the Fitbit to similar devices and apps, such as Jawbone UP, Apple Watch, and Google Fit.
To get the most out of this app, you’ll need to own a Fitbit, which can be costly. The app itself is free, and it offers in-app purchases, such as a monthly $9.99 or a yearly $79.99 subscription.
Fitbit provides you with a considerable amount of information about your activity levels, so you can keep good track of your weight and health goals.
The app is very easy to use and has several ways of showing you your progress and keeping you motivated.
Though users can use the app without a Fitbit device, in order to use the exercise, sleep, and heart rate components of the app, you must own a Fitbit. There are many types and some are expensive.
WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, is a company that offers various services to assist with weight loss and maintenance.
WW uses a SmartPoints system that helps users stay within their daily calorie allotment to promote fat loss. The points system includes ZeroPoint foods like lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits.
Based on individual goals, each person is assigned a specific amount of “points” to aim for in their diet.
A few studies have demonstrated the positive effects that Weight Watchers may have on weight control (9, 10).
One review of 39 studies found that people who participated in Weight Watchers achieved at least 2.6% greater weight loss after 1 year than those who didn’t participate (9).
You can participate in WW by attending their in-person meetings, which they hold in various locations throughout the United States. Otherwise, WW offers a program that’s entirely digital through the WW app.
The WW app allows you to log your weight and food intake and lets you keep track of your “points.” A barcode scanner makes it easy to enter foods.
The WW app also offers an activity tracker, weekly workshops, social networking, a reward’s system, and 24/7 live coaching.
Another benefit of the WW app is its broad collection of over 8,000 WW-approved recipes that you can search based on meal time and dietary requirements.
The pricing of the WW app fluctuates. Basic access to the app costs $3.22 per week while the app plus personal digital coaching costs $12.69 per week.
The WW app provides details and graphs to show your progress over time.
24/7 live coaching is available as well as a social network of fellow WW members to help keep you motivated.
Counting points can be difficult for some people.
To get the benefit of this app, you have to pay a subscription fee.
Noom is a popular weight loss app that helps users lose weight by making sustainable lifestyle changes.
Noom assigns a daily calorie budget based on answers to certain lifestyle and health-related questions as well as your current weight, height, sex, and weight loss goals.
The Noom app allows users to track food intake using a database that includes over 3.5 million foods.
The app also allows Noom users to log weight, exercise, and other important indicators of health, like blood sugar levels.
Noom also offers virtual health coaching during working hours and teaches users helpful tools like mindful eating practices and offers motivational reading and quizzes that are meant to be completed on a daily basis.
These tools are meant to encourage a healthier relationship with food and activity.
Noom costs $59 for the monthly reoccurring plan and $199 for the yearly reoccurring plan.
Noom offers personalized health coaching.
It also encourages the consumption of nutrient-dense foods through a color coded system.
Noom offers support through community groups and live chats.
To get the benefit of this app, you have to pay a subscription fee.
Having a support system may be helpful for weight management. FatSecret focuses on providing its users with that support.
The app allows you to log your food intake, monitor your weight, and interact with other people through its community chat feature.
Not only are you able to chat with other users, but you can also join groups to connect with people who have similar goals.
Research has shown that people who have social support tend to be more successful at achieving and maintaining weight loss than those who do not (10, 11).
In a 2010 study, almost 88% of subjects who joined an internet weight loss community reported that being part of a group supported their weight loss efforts by providing encouragement and motivation (11).
In addition to a large collection of healthy recipes that you can make, FatSecret features a journal where you can record information about your weight loss journey, such as your successes and drawbacks.
What makes FatSecret stand out from other weight loss apps is its Professional tool, in which you can share your food, exercise, and weight data with your preferred healthcare providers.
The app is free to download. People can opt for a subscription for $6.99 per month or $38.99 for a year.
FatSecret’s nutrition database is vast and includes many restaurant and supermarket foods that would be difficult to track otherwise.
Not only does FatSecret show your daily calorie intake, but it can also display your monthly calorie averages, which is helpful for monitoring progress.
It’s very easy to sign up and free.
Due to its many components, FatSecret can be difficult to navigate.
Cronometer is another weight loss app that lets you track nutrition, fitness, and health data.
Similar to other apps, it has an extensive calorie counting feature along with a database of over 300,000 foods. It also features a barcode scanner for easily recording the foods you eat.
Cronometer focuses on helping you obtain optimal nutrient intake while keeping your calorie intake under control. It tracks up to 82 micronutrients, so you can make sure you’re meeting your daily vitamin and mineral needs.
You also have access to a Trends feature which displays your progress toward your weight goals over a specific time range.
Another unique feature of Cronometer is its Snapshots section. Here, you can upload photos of your body to compare throughout your weight loss journey. It can also estimate your body fat percentage.
Cronometer also offers Cronometer Pro, a version of the app for dietitians, nutritionists, and health coaches to use.
Additionally, the app offers a forum where you can start online discussions with other users about various nutrition topics.
The app is free to download. To unlock all of its features, you’ll need to upgrade to Gold, which costs $5.99 per month or $34.95 per year.
Compared to other apps, Cronometer can track significantly more nutrients, which is helpful if you’re trying to improve your overall nutrient intake.
Cronometer can keep track of an extensive amount of information, including biometric data like cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
It’s a very user-friendly app. Their website also has a blog and forum where users can ask questions and find information about how to use it.
You can sync your nutrition and activity data with other apps and devices, including FitBit and Garmin.
To get the full benefit of this app, you have to pay a subscription fee.
Making healthy choices while grocery shopping is extremely important for weight loss, but it can be overwhelming.
Using an app like Fooducate may help you better navigate all the different products at the grocery store.
Fooducate is a “nutrition scanner” that allows you to scan a food’s barcode and receive detailed information on it, including nutrition facts and ingredients. It lets you scan over 250,000 product barcodes.
One unique aspect of Fooducate’s nutrition scanner is that it notifies you of unhealthy ingredients that are commonly hidden in products, such as trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup.
Not only does Fooducate bring certain characteristics of foods to your attention — it also gives you a list of healthier alternatives to purchase.
For example, if you scan a specific type of yogurt that contains a lot of added sugar, the app will show you some healthier yogurts to try instead.
The app is free to download. In-app purchases start at $0.99 and can go up to $89.99.
Fooducate’s food grading system assists you with making choices based on your own dietary goals.
The app also has tools that allow you to keep track of your exercise habits and calorie intake.
You can scan certain products for allergens, like gluten, if you purchase a monthly subscription.
Although the general version of the app is free, certain features are only available with a paid upgrade, including support for keto, paleo, and low carb diets, and allergen tracking.
SparkPeople allows you to log your daily meals, weight, and exercise with their user-friendly tracking tools.
The nutrition database is large, containing over 2 million foods.
The app includes a barcode scanner, making it easy to keep track of any packaged foods that you eat.
When you sign up for SparkPeople, you gain access to their exercise demo component. This includes photos and descriptions of many common exercises so you can ensure you’re using proper techniques during your workouts.
There’s also a points system integrated into SparkPeople. As you log your habits and achieve your goals, you’ll receive “points,” which can boost your motivation.
The app is free to download. The premium upgrade is $4.99 per month.
The app provides access to plenty of exercise videos and tips.
Those who use the app have access to SparkPeople’s health and fitness articles in addition to an interactive online community.
The SparkPeople app provides a significant amount of information, which may be difficult to sort through.
MyNetDiary is a user-friendly calorie counter. It offers a range of features to help people lose weight and stay healthy.
Using a personalized Daily Calorie Budget, it helps you keep track of your calories, nutrition, and weight loss.
MyNetDiary contains a database of over 845,000 verified foods, but if you include user-added products, you can get data on over 1 million foods. It also offers data on over 45 nutrients.
The app provides reports, charts, and statistics to help you visualize your meals, nutrients, and calories.
It also offers a barcode scanner to easily log packaged foods as you eat them.
MyNetDiary also offers a Diabetes Tracker app to help people with diabetes keep track of their symptoms, medications, nutrition, exercise, and blood glucose.
The app is free to download. You can also get a subscription for $8.99 per month or $59.99 for a year.
The app is free.
MyNetDiary can sync with other health apps, including Garmin, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Google Fit.
The app contains a built-in GPS tracker for running and walking.
To unlock all the features, you’ll need to get a subscription.
The bottom line
On the market today, there are many helpful apps that you can use to support your weight loss goals in 2021.
Many of them use tracking tools to monitor your weight, food intake, and exercise habits. Others provide guidance for making healthy choices when grocery shopping or eating out.
Additionally, many weight loss apps have components that aim to increase your motivation, including community support, point systems, and tools that document the progress you’ve made over time.
Although there are several benefits to using weight loss apps, some do have downfalls. For example, some people may find them to be time-consuming, overwhelming, or problematic for their mental well-being.
With so many apps and features available, try experimenting with a few to see which one works best for you.
Last medically reviewed on June 17, 2020
Written by Brianna Elliott, RD on June 17, 2020 — Medically reviewed by Miho Hatanaka, RDN, L.D.
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