Counting calories can be a challenging equation. Even Will Hunting probably struggles tracking what goes in and out of his body. Now, thanks to the MyFitnessPal app, anyone with a smartphone can supposedly track their calories— no calculators required.

The Pocket Nutritionist — What It Is

Created by the folks at MyFitnessPal.com, the app allows users to record the food they eat throughout the day. Whether it’s fresh fruit from the farmer’s market, a specific brand of spaghetti, or Chinese take-out from a chain restaurant, MyFinessPal most likely knows about it. And if it doesn’t, users can input the nutritional information themselves. The app adds up calories and also keeps track of fat, carbs, protein, and other vital nutrients.

But MyFitnessPal doesn’t stop with food. Users can also record exercises, done during the day, and the app will record the number of calories burned. Wondering if your run worked off that breakfast burrito? MyFinessPal will let you know.

Prior to using the app, users complete a survey that asks about weight, height, exercise habits, and weight loss goal. With this information, MyFinessPal calculates the correct amount of calories and nutrients needed for that individual to meet their goal. Ultimately, MyFitnessPal provides nutritional information people need at a price they can afford (oh, did we not mention it’s free?).

Your New BFF — What It Means to You

Keeping track of calories may not be easy, but studies suggest it’s a key component to weight loss Dietary and physical activity behaviors among adults successful at weight loss maintenance. Kruger, J., Blanck, HM., Gillespie, C. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA. The International Journal of Behavior Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006; 3: 17. MyFitnessPal makes the process easier for people who want to stay on track but hate doing the math. Unfortunately, there are some flaws to this smartphone app. Due to the limited sizing options available, sometimes users may have to guess, which decreases the accuracy. It also does not offer every exercise, making it difficult for people to track all the calories burned.

Although the app does not offer meal and workout suggestions like its competitors, it’s perfect for people who only want to count calories. Given its cost, ease, and accuracy, we give MyFitnessPal 3 out of 5 apples.

Download/Buy MyFitnessPal for the iPhone from iTunes for FREE here.

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