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After spending years on MyFitnessPal and now the last four months using Cronometer, I’m in a great position to comment on the pros and cons of each nutrition app and give my advice about which one is better for certain groups.
- The main difference between Cronometer and MyFitnessPal is that Cronometer has a fully verified database compared to MyFitnessPal’s unverified database. Cronometer also has more emphasis on micronutrients and biometric information.
- Cronometer won 8 of the 10 categories reviewed (more on this later). As of 2023, the cost of the MyFitnessPal premium version isn’t justified ($19.99/month) compared with Cronometer Gold ($5/month). Of note, the barcode scanner is available on Cronometer’s free version.
- Cronometer is best for those who want a calorie/macro tracker that also comes with other detailed health data (i.e., athletes or people managing a health condition). Overall, MyFitnessPal is not superior to Cronometer, but it does have a slight edge for tracking restaurant meals or international foods (if traveling).
Medical Disclaimer: The content of this article is provided for educational insights only. It should not be used as medical guidance. Individuals with a past of disordered eating should refrain from weight loss programs or calorie tracking. For medical advice, consult a certified healthcare professional. If you’re struggling with eating disorders, contact NEDA for assistance.
What Is Cronometer?
Cronometer is a nutrition app that allows you to track calories, macronutrients, micronutrients, water intake, and a huge range of biomarkers including measurements, sleep, mood, and even lab results such as blood tests or blood pressure to optimize your health.
Cronometer allows you to track your daily intake of food against customizable targets for calories, macronutrients and micronutrients. This can help you to meet your goals, whether they are for weight loss, weight gain, or management of a health condition.
Cronometer has many reports available including a detailed daily summary showing intake of micronutrients against recommended daily values.
You can also generate custom reports to compare variables against each other, or track desired items over time.
Read my complete review of Cronometer.
- Customizable energy settings
- Verified database
- Detailed, extensive micronutrient information
- Comprehensive library of biomarkers
- Standardized and custom reports
- Recipes include Notes for instructions and can be shared with friends
- Community support
- Calorie counts don’t display in search results until you click on the entry
- No grouping of foods into meals/snacks in the free version; all foods appear in one big list
If you use the link below, you can get 10% off when subscribing to the gold plan. No code is required, it’s automatically applied.
What Is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is a nutrition app that allows you to track calories, macronutrients, a few micronutrients, water intake, exercise, and a selected number of measurements to help you pursue weight loss or weight gain goals.
While MyFitnessPal was one of the first popular diet apps, it now has fewer details, customizations and features than many other apps on the market.
During the intake process, MyFitnessPal records basic data about the user (age, height, current weight, goal weight and activity level) to suggest a calorie target.
Users can accept this target or override it, and set targets for what percentage of calories they want to come from each macronutrient (to the nearest 5%). The ability to set specific targets in terms of number of grams is restricted to Premium users.
For tracking food, you can either search in the food database or pay for Premium to use the barcode scanner. Users can also create recipes or meals by saving groups of ingredients that are commonly eaten together.
At the end of the day, there is an option to “complete” the diary, which will then show a projected weight in 5 weeks, assuming every day was exactly the same as the completed day.
Read my complete review of MyFitnessPal.
- Intuitive and easy-to-understand interface
- Covers basic calorie and macro-tracking needs
- Global database with millions of entries, including foods from chain restaurants
- Only 6 micronutrients are tracked
- Many inaccurate entries in the database
- Full page ads and pop-ups make the free version slow to use
- Barcode scanner is only in the Premium paid version
MyFitnessPal was one of the first popular calorie & macro-tracking apps. It’s still a great free option for people who want to easily track their food, especially if they live or travel overseas.
Cronometer vs. MyFitnessPal: Head To Head Comparison
1. Food Database
Cronometer’s database contains only verified entries, with lab-analyzed data from the Nutrition Coordinating Center Food & Nutrient Database (NCCDB) or the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (USDA), or verified entries from Cronometer users.
This makes it a smaller, but more accurate database, and entries are heavily weighted towards North American products. This is changing over time as international entries get added by users.
MyFitnessPal’s database is NOT verified and contains millions of entries from around the world, including chain restaurant entries based on published nutritional data on their websites.
This makes it a much larger but much less accurate database.
Still, it’s likely to be very useful for people who routinely eat in restaurants compared to the effort of logging a custom food entry in Cronometer for a restaurant meal.
And anyone who lives outside of North America might prefer finding entries from their home country in MyFitnessPal.
2. Tracking Capabilities
Cronometer essentially allows you to track EVERYTHING about your life.
In addition to logging your food (which will capture calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients), you can also include water intake, exercise, measurements of any kind (if it’s not listed, you can add it as a custom measurement), as well as sleep, mood, and lab results for blood tests and more.
MyFitnessPal tracks food (calories, macronutrients, and limited micronutrients), water intake, steps, exercise, and a pre-set list of measurements (weight, body fat, neck, waist and three hip circumference measurements).
3. Calorie Recommendations
Cronometer’s calorie recommendations are very adjustable, and can even be overridden completely if you are working with a nutrition coach or Registered Dietician or other health professional who has provided targets for you.
With so many options to adjust both basal metabolic rate AND activity level to estimate your total calories burned, Cronometer is able to provide you with a much more accurate recommendation to meet your stated weight goals (whether that is to lose, gain, or maintain).
You can also set macronutrients to the exact number of grams that you want.
MyFitnessPal recommendations are less customizable than Cronometer, although you can still override them completely if needed.
My biggest frustration with MyFitnessPal was the fact that macronutrient targets can only be set to the nearest 5% in the free version, so I had to pay for Premium to be able to set the exact grams I wanted.
4. Level of Customization
Cronometer’s customization options go way beyond setting calorie and macronutrient targets (discussed above).
You can also customize your dashboard for what you see: do you want to see a summary of calories burned? What macronutrients do you want/not want to display?
Then, you have the ability to create custom reports, graphs and charts.
Maybe your doctor told you to increase magnesium intake to improve your sleep: you can create a chart to show magnesium intake and sleep levels over time, to see if there is an improvement.
MyFitnessPal has less customization both in terms of calories and macronutrients (described above) and all the reports, graphs and charts are pre-designed. You cannot customize the options.
5. Education Opportunities
One of my favorite features in Cronometer is “Ask the Oracle.” I wasn’t previously paying attention to my micronutrient intake because I didn’t have the data to do so in MyFitnessPal.
When I started looking at my daily report in Cronometer, I realized that I was routinely low on phosphorus intake.
The “Ask the Oracle” feature allowed me to find out what foods were the best sources of phosphorus so that I could increase my intake without a dedicated supplement.
So, not only does Cronometer allow you to learn about the calorie count and macronutrient breakdown of different foods for given serving sizes, you can also learn about micronutrient content AND what foods are the best sources of given micronutrients.
MyFitnessPal does deserve credit for helping me to understand the nutritional content of my foods, in terms of both calories and macronutrients.
Before I started tracking macros, I felt a lot of confusion about foods that were labeled by the diet industry as “good” or “bad” without realizing that there was nothing magical about so-called “good” foods that would guarantee weight loss.
For example, raw unsalted nuts are called a source of “healthy fat” but they are also very calorie-dense and easy to overeat.
MyFitnessPal showed me that 100 g of nuts has nearly 600 calories and 60 g of fat. In comparison, a Snickers bar is about 500 calories for 100 g and only 22 g of fat.
Cronometer doesn’t have its own coaches on staff the way Noom does (click to read my review), but Cronometer does have a membership called Cronometer Pro specifically for health professionals like coaches or dieticians to use with their clients.
In Cronometer Pro, the coach gets a dashboard view to monitor clients’ intake, and can communicate with clients directly in the app.
Plus, the coach can share recipes with clients, to give them healthy options for the meals, or to hit a specific macronutrient or micronutrient goal.
MyFitnessPal doesn’t provide any opportunities for users to work with a coach.
Some coaches do ask their clients to use MyFitnessPal and turn on diary sharing so that the coach can see the intake as a “friend,” but this isn’t the same level of visibility as the Cronometer Pro dashboard.
7. Recipe Database
Cronometer does not have a recipe database that users can search, only the recipes they input themselves or share with friends (in the Gold version).
MyFitnessPal has a “Recipe Discovery” feature that allows users to search for recipes based on category or hashtags (such as “Immune Support” or “vegetarian”).
Premium users can even import a serving of the recipe into their diary (this would only be accurate if they made the recipe with the exact ingredients and amounts noted in the original recipe).
8. Exercise Calories
When you log exercise in a nutrition app, or when your exercise syncs into the app from a connected device like a Fitbit, the app will estimate how many calories you burned while doing that exercise.
Some apps will automatically add these estimated calories to your daily total.
But, you may not want that: your daily total might already include an amount for activity, or you might want to keep a lower daily target so that your exercise creates a calorie deficit for weight loss.
I’ll cover what each app does with exercise calories:
Cronometer has two settings related to exercise calories:
- Users can import “activity calories” from activity trackers like FitBits or Apple Watches and can use these activity calories instead of a calculated “activity multiplier” that is used in estimating total calories burned for the day (TDEE: total daily energy expenditure).
- Users can also decide whether exercise calories should be added to their total daily calorie target, or ignored.
MyFitnessPal only has settings related to exercise calories, not activity calories, and the ability to choose what to do with exercise calories (ignore them or add them to daily targets) is limited to Premium users.
Cronometer has all of the features I’ve been describing in the free version.
The only things that are not included are recipe sharing and the ability to log foods in separate meals. These two features exist only in Cronometer Gold.
A Cronometer Gold membership is $49.99/year, which works out to less than $5 per month.
MyFitnessPal has been moving more and more features and functionality to its paid Premium version.
The barcode scanner (which was free for years) was moved to a paid feature in October 2022.
A MyFitnessPal Premium membership is $79.99/year, or $19.99/month for a month-to-month subscription).
In the Apple App store, Cronometer has 4.7 / 5 stars from over 39 thousand reviews. Many recent reviews talk about how happy users are that they switched over from MyFitnessPal (like me).
In the Apple App store, MyFitnessPal has 4.2 / 5 stars from over 2.5 million reviews. The app has definitely been around longer, which is why there are so many more downloads and reviews.
Amazingly, MyFitnessPal had a rating of 4.7 / 5 stars based on 1.5 million reviews back in November 2022. That means in 2 months of reviews, the rating dropped 0.5 stars.
With so many reviews in total, that means nearly all of the recent reviews would have to be negative.
This can be seen in the comments from recent reviews, where users complain about missing features that were previously free, and slower performance due to ads.
Cronometer vs. MyFitnessPal: Quick Overview
|Food Categorization||None - Cronometer doesn’t rank or rate foods||None - MyFitnessPal doesn’t rank or rate foods||Both are calorie and macro tracking apps that don’t qualify foods as “good” or “bad”.|
|Tracking Capabilities||Cronometer has much more detailed and comprehensive tracking for macronutrients, micronutrients, and biometrics.|
|Calorie Recommendations & Accuracy||Calorie recommendations are accurate and can be customized further for advanced users.||Calorie recommendations for weight loss tend to be too low for active individuals and/or those with high muscle mass.||Cronometer allows for much more detailed, custom inputs to come up with recommended calorie intake, which allows for more accuracy.|
|Level of Customization||Ability to customize calorie, macronutrient and selected micronutrient targets. Can also generate custom reports to compare variables of your choosing.||Ability to customize calorie target if desired, and macros can be set within 5% increments; exact grams can be set in the Premium version.||Cronometer is highly customizable and allows you to generate custom reports to look at specific variables. |
MyFitnessPal has limited customizations, especially in the free version, and only standard reports/graphs.
|Education Opportunities||“Ask the Oracle” shows which foods are best for providing a given micronutrient. Plus, you’ll learn about nutritional info when logging food.||MyFitnessPal provides basic nutritional info, that may or may not be accurate.||Cronometer allows users to learn about recommended intake of micronutrients as well as macronutrients. |
MyFitnessPal is a tool for data collection that will give users information about serving sizes, calories, and macronutrients.
|Coaching||None||None||Both Cronometer & MyFitnessPal are self-directed apps, although Cronometer specifically has a coaching dashboard for nutrition coaches.|
|Recipe Database & Meal Planning||There is no recipe database and no meal planning functionality.||The Recipe Discovery feature has searchable categories and hashtags (such as “vegetarian”). There is no meal planning functionality.||MyFitnessPal has a recipe database and Cronometer does not.|
|Exercise Calories||Choice to include exercise calories or not.||Choice to include exercise calories or not limited to Premium members.||Cronometer & MyFitnessPal both let you choose whether exercise calories are added to daily totals, but you have to be a Premium member for MyFitnessPal.|
|Price||MyFitnessPal is one of the more expensive nutrition tracking apps on the market.|
|Reviews||4.7/5 for 39,801 reviews||4.2/5 for 2,561,784 reviews (down from 4.7/5 as of November 2022)||Cronometer is a much newer app with fewer reviews. MyFitness recent reviews are usually only 2 stars.|
Other Diet App Comparisons:
- Noom vs Lifesum
- Noom vs MyFitnessPal
- Cronometer vs Lose It
- MyMacros+ vs Cronometer
- MacroFactor vs Cronometer
- MacroFactor vs MyFitnessPal
- Lifesum vs MyFitnessPal
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.
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