MyFitnessPal Sucks, Here’s Why + What To Use Instead

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I tracked my meals on MyFitnessPal for three years.

I can confidently say that it used to be one of the best nutrition-logging apps on the market.  

It had a fantastic free version and excellent customer support. 

However, its quality has dipped significantly recently, and I ultimately gave it up. 

It wasn’t even a sad breakup, either. By the end, I was happy to cancel my account.  

Below, I’ll review MyFitnessPal’s main issues and share the alternative I’m using now.

Here Are My 8 Criticisms of MyFitnessPal After 3 Years of Use

1. Unexpected and Frustrating Bugs

MyFitnessPal is plagued by several user experience issues that make it frustrating to use. 

Among these:

  • The barcode scanner brings up inaccurate data, sometimes when re-scanning the same barcode.

This was a huge point of frustration for me, especially when I was losing weight and controlling my calories more closely. 

I often had to re-scan food items to ensure the correct nutritional information showed up in the app, so I could stay in a deficit and hit my daily macro targets.

  • Saving recipes and meals doesn’t always work. 

I would write down a recipe in the app and fill out the relevant details for 5-10 minutes, only to get an error message saying, “Can’t save the information at this time.” 

I then had to start this process again, which was a big time-waster.

  • Getting logged out for no apparent reason at random times.

I’m not sure why the app did this. 

Perhaps it was related to software updates, or maybe it was simply a bug. 

However, on several occasions, I would want to open the app and log something, only to see that I was logged out and had to log in again.

  • The step tracker is not accurate even when synchronized. 

Note: This appears to be more common for Samsung Health.

I’ve used MyFitnessPal on both an iPhone and Android, and the steps reported from the Android phone were 30% less than those on iOS.  

Realistically, I didn’t use MyFitnessPal for the step tracker, but the inaccuracy for a feature that MyFitnessPal actively promotes is unacceptable.

2. The Barcode Scanner is No Longer Free

MyFitnessPal took the fitness industry by storm in 2011 when it introduced the barcode scanner, which allowed users to scan the barcode of packaged foods and more easily log their intake.

The feature was free for over a decade until October 1, 2022, when it was moved behind a paywall. 

To say that people didn’t like that change would be an understatement. 

As one Twitter user sarcastically remarked, “People love paying for something that they’ve gotten with just ads for years. This is sure to be a big hit!” 🙄

This is also one of the most frequent frustrations among users and a recurring theme in one and two-star reviews on the App Store and Google Play.

Putting the barcode scanner behind a paywall was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me (I’ll discuss this more later when detailing the new MyFitnessPal pricing model).  

3. Food Logging Became Hard To Do

Several issues with MyFitnessPal have made food logging more difficult, which is one of the primary things I value in calorie and macro-tracking apps (ease of daily use).  

  • First, the app doesn’t save recent searches long enough, so I often had to type out the foods and beverages I was having. 

For example, I love eating oatmeal for breakfast. 

I logged that in MyFitnessPal every morning, but I noticed that my oatmeal didn’t always appear in recent searches.

Instead of popping up when I clicked on the “O” letter, I had to type it out and then find the right one from a long list of unverified search results (more on unverified foods later).

  • Second, random food items were added or removed when logging meals.

For example, I would add several foods to a meal, save them, and later notice that one or more of them wasn’t saved and their nutritional value wasn’t calculated. 

This made the whole experience more frustrating and time-consuming because I found myself constantly checking previous meals to make sure everything was saved.

  • Finally, removing a food item doesn’t always show a change in the total calories and macros for the day.

This problem is similar to the previous one because it meant I always had to scan my previous meals and double-check everything I logged to ensure the calories and macronutrients were calculated correctly.

4. Lack of Customization

Another major criticism of MyFitnessPal is that the app hasn’t evolved over the years and now appears less functional and more rigid.

One thing I’ve realized since I started using other apps is how much more customizable they are and how much I could shape the home screen to fit me

With MyFitnessPal, every user’s dashboard is the same and displays the same things.

Sure, I could set custom calorie and macro targets, but I couldn’t pin metrics that mattered to me on my home screen. 

With other apps, I could easily track my water intake, fiber, and even specific vitamins and minerals.

Also, an area where MyFitnessPal fails greatly is the lack of personalized guidance. 

Instead of helping users figure out their goals and how to eat for best results, it uses one-size-fits-all recommendations, which can’t work for everyone.

For example, the app doesn’t offer ongoing calorie and macronutrient adjustments based on body weight trends like other apps can. 

You must figure out how your nutritional targets should change as you gain or lose weight, which can take a lot of time and energy, especially if you aren’t a nutrition professional.  

This can lead to suboptimal results and a loss of motivation.

5. Accuracy of Nutritional Information

MyFitnessPal has always been known for its extensive food database, where users can find almost any food or drink they want. 

Part of MyFitnessPal’s explosive growth back in the early days was the fact that users could freely contribute to the food database by adding entries with nutritional information.

For example, if someone enjoys eating a specific food, they could add it to the database to easily log it. This would also add the entry to the public database, where other users could find it and log it into their meals.

However, one huge issue is that the food database has become bloated. Over the years, people freely added any food they wanted along with nutritional information that wasn’t checked or verified by anyone at MyFitnessPal.

So, today, you can search for a simple food and see ten or more options, each with different calories and macronutrients. It would be up to you to determine which one is correct. 

As you can imagine, doing that can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you’re new to food tracking and don’t know much about your foods’ calories and macro compositions.

6. Subscription Model and Pricing

MyFitnessPal used to have an excellent free version.

However, things have changed in recent years, as the app currently offers two subscription options:

  • $19.99 per month
  • $79.99 per year

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to paying for an app I use every day. My problem is with the value I get for what I pay. 

MyFitnessPal’s announcement that the barcode scanner would be moving behind a paywall in October 2022 caused a huge uproar among users. I was also upset by the change and decided to explore what other apps offered.

At $19.99 per month for MyFitnessPal, the cost is not justified, especially considering that other apps still offer the barcode scanner in their free versions or at half the cost of a premium subscription.

If MyFitnessPal introduced another subscription option (say, $5-10/month) and only offered the barcode scanner plus a couple of other premium features (for example, the ability to set custom macro targets), I believe many legacy users, like myself, would be more likely to pay.

7. Advertisement Overload

Another thing that’s frustrated me to no end when using MyFitnessPal is the sheer volume of ads I must endure just to log a meal or record my body weight.

I’m not against ads because those clearly generate some revenue for the company and help convert a percentage of free users to paying subscribers.

However, their ads have become increasingly aggressive to the point where a quick log-in to save food means watching a full-screen, unskippable ad. It almost feels like they were taunting me to subscribe so these annoying ads would disappear. 

I’ve also had times when I would log a meal or exercise session and then get an ad. So, I would have to watch it to make sure the thing I’ve logged is actually saved. 

Pop-up requests to rate the app show up constantly (on every log-in and when I’ve used the app). To make matters worse, they have appeared even after I rated the app and are sometimes unresponsive.

8. Psychological & Behavioral Considerations

To conclude the list of criticisms of MyFitnessPal, I’d like to briefly discuss something more objective: the app’s behavioral impact.

While I’m not going to tell you that MyFitnessPal is inherently bad (I don’t believe it is), I’ve noticed that other apps do several things far better regarding the psychological impacts of tracking nutrition.

  • First, MyFitnessPal provides rigid nutritional targets, which can be tricky to hit and could lead to frustration. 

For example, if I need to consume precisely 2,500 calories to be in a deficit and lose weight, I might feel disappointed if I exceed that target even slightly.

Some other apps do this better by providing a calorie range

That way, I have far more flexibility daily and don’t need to obsess over every calorie or gram of food I consume.

  • Second, MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer much in the way of nutritional or behavioral education to help users better understand their choices or diets. 

Some other apps have built-in lessons and quizzes that pop up every day or week. 

These teach valuable lessons and help users make better choices instead of obsessing over calories and macros.

Considering these things and that using MyFitnessPal is more mentally taxing, you may find yourself giving up or resorting to less effective methods, such as crash diets, to get results. 

Here’s What I’m Using Now: MacroFactor

After searching for alternatives, I eventually settled on MacroFactor.  

In fact, the entire team at loves it, too. 

Here’s my colleague Janine Collins sharing what she loves about it: 

What Is MacroFactor?

MacroFactor is a nutrition-logging app like MyFitnessPal, but it has built-in coaching capabilities and many customizations to personalize your nutrition goals. 

Like other nutrition-tracking apps, you can log your food intake, and the app automatically calculates your calories and macronutrients. 

However, unlike many apps, it takes the data you provide (primarily weight trends and body fat percentage) to update your nutritional targets from week to week.

If you want to use MacroFactor, you can get an extra week on your free trial using the code FEASTGOOD (two weeks free versus one).

Why It’s Better: Feature Comparison

You Have Choice & Personalization 

MacroFactor has a detailed setup that collects as much information as possible to provide a more tailored experience and nutritional recommendations. 

You can also pick your preferred diet style, including balanced (standard distribution of carbs and fats), low-carb, or low-fat.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal’s approach is more generic. The suggested calorie targets initially provided may or may not work for you, and adjusting the calories is a trial-and-error process.

You Can Opt For A “Coached” Approach

MacroFactor has three coaching styles (coached, collaborative, and manual). 

  • Coached means the app calculates your macros and calories based on your progress, which is great if you know nothing about nutrition.
  • Collaborative is almost the same; you still get coached, but you can manually adjust your daily calories and macros. This is great if you want to have a fasting day or budget an extra 1000 calories for a social event. The app will automatically adjust your calories and macros on your other days to maintain your weekly goal.
  • Manual means the app doesn’t calculate your calories and macros ongoing.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer any ongoing coaching, and it’s up to you to determine if your diet is effective based on your progress (be it weight gain or loss) and make changes if necessary.

You Get A Food Database That Is Verified 

MacroFactor has a large and verified food database, so you get 100% accurate calorie, macronutrient, and micronutrient information to log your nutrition.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal’s database is extensive but highly inaccurate. You can often find the same food item with different nutritional information listed multiple times, causing confusion and doubt.

You Get WAY More Nutritional Information

MacroFactor provides an in-depth nutritional breakdown of each food, including information about vitamins, minerals, the amino acid composition of protein, the fatty acid composition of fats, and fiber. 

This allows you to train any nutrient, not just protein, carbs, and fats.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal provides calorie and macronutrient information with some basic data on cholesterol or micronutrients here and there. This may not be enough for someone with a medical condition who must track a specific metric.

You Can Log Foods At Any Time of Day

MacroFactor allows you to log as many foods as you want by selecting the time of day. 

That way, you can keep your nutrition organized, regardless of how often you eat and whether your meal frequency varies daily.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal only lets you log food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, which adds an unnecessary layer of rigidity.

You Can Track Body Measurements

MacroFactor allows you to upload progress photos and body measurements (e.g., chest, waist, and thighs) alongside daily weigh-ins. 

This allows you to track your body composition and progress more accurately.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal only allows you to log your body weight and add progress photos, which means you don’t have as many tracking options and would need to record body measurements elsewhere.

You Can Pin The Most Important Information On Your Dashboard

MacroFactor’s interface is far better because you can easily track more metrics and pin up to eight nutrients to display on the app’s home screen. 

These include vitamins and minerals, fiber, sugar, starch, fatty acids, amino acids, alcohol, caffeine, and cholesterol. 

So you can easily monitor what’s important to you every time you log into the app.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal doesn’t allow you to track most of these and doesn’t provide the option to pin certain things (e.g., your sodium intake) to the home screen for easy monitoring.

You Can Adjust Your Weekly Calorie Distribution

MacroFactor allows you to tweak your weekly calorie distribution. 

For example, you can choose high calorie days (e.g., when you work out) and low calorie days (e.g., when you don’t), which won’t impact your long-term progress, as Macrofactor will ensure your weekly targets stay the same. 

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer that option. You get an even caloric distribution on each day, which wouldn’t work if you enjoy calorie or carb cycling.

You Don’t Need To Be Perfect To See Results

MacroFactor encourages consistency over perfection. It does so by having you log your meals to gain in-depth calorie expenditure data and weight to examine your weight trend. This makes it easier to see how much closer you will be to your goal in 7, 14, 30, and 90 days.

The Data & Habits calendar (found in the dashboard) shows you what metrics you’ve logged on which days, encouraging you to be more consistent and get an active streak going. 

It offers a visual representation of your tracking consistency, highlighting active streaks and encouraging you to keep going so you don’t break the chain.

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal doesn’t have a calendar feature. The closest it gets to something like that is with the Nutrition overview, where you can see what nutrients you’ve consumed for the day or in the past seven days.

This is still valuable because it helps you see how closely you’ve hit your nutritional targets, but it doesn’t display streaks and doesn’t provide the same broad overview as MacroFactor’s calendar.

You Can Set A Calorie Floor To Avoid Crash Dieting

One feature that makes MacroFactor stand out among all other nutrition-tracking apps is the calorie floor. 

For example, the app will never reduce your calorie intake to the point of crash dieting for weight loss, even if you want to reach your goal more quickly.

Crash dieting might lead to faster results in the short term, but long term, it leads to weight regain and an unhealthy relationship with food. 

As medical writer Rajive Patel notes:

“There is no denying that crash diets can help you to lose weight quickly. However, this weight loss is often only short-term. Once you return to your normal eating habits, the weight will quickly pile back on. This is because crash diets are often very difficult to stick to and usually leave people feeling deprived and hungry. Additionally, long-term restrictive diets can cause nutrient deficiencies and slow down your metabolic rate.” 

→ In contrast, MyFitnessPal doesn’t have that. It only provides some basic nutritional targets at the start, but there is no consideration for how the calorie target may negatively impact your health, metabolism, or well-being.

Pricing and Value

MacroFactor does not have a free version. 

However, I’d argue that MyFitnessPal’s free version is unusable now, and you’re forced to upgrade to the paid option. 

MacroFactor’s paid version is cheaper ($11.99 vs. $19.99 monthly), and you get much more value. 

The following table compares MacroFactor and MyFitnessPal’s subscription options:

Regular MenuKids Menu
Free VersionNoYes
Premium Trial7 days1 month
6 Month Plan$47.99-
Annual Plan$71.99$79.99

User Testimonials for MacroFactor

My colleague Amanda Parker (a certified nutrition coach) has used MacroFactor for over two years. 

Here’s what she has to say:

Amanda Parker

“The app has evolved with each iteration, and I’m convinced, now more than ever, that MacroFactor is the best nutrition app on the market. It’s the most customizable nutrition tracker; it constantly adapts to your metabolism, is easy to use, and is upgraded regularly as new scientific evidence is presented.”

Here is what other users have said about MacroFactor:

“…I started to look at my training differently, it became about how strong I could be, rather than what I looked like. The app was critical in me achieving this as I was properly fueling my body the whole time. As a vegan, I have found the addition of the micronutrient tracker fantastic, being able to make sure I get enough iron has been brilliant.”

Amanda Barnett

“MacroFactor helped me ensure I was getting enough protein, fat, and fiber in a consumable and motivating format. Seeing the weight trend move down on days when I felt like I was stalling kept me going all the way to my goal of single-digit body fat %. I achieved my goal at a body fat percentage of 9.7% at 163lbs!”

Brett Alcox

“I weighed around 300 lbs. I was never health conscious and had never stepped foot in a gym, but using the app made something click. The layout and the simplistic nature of all the info allowed me to not find any excuses not to get up in the morning and weigh myself. Even when the weight fluctuated on the scale, the trend weight stopped me from feeling discouraged and kept me on track.”

Elliot O’Neill

Want To Get Started With MacroFactor?

About The Author

Philip Stefanov

Philip Stefanov is a certified conditioning coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor. With more than nine years of experience in the industry, he’s helped hundreds of clients improve their nutritional habits, become more consistent with exercise, lose weight in a sustainable way, and build muscle through strength training. He is passionate about writing and has published more than 500 articles on various topics related to healthy nutrition, dieting, calorie and macronutrient tracking, meal planning, fitness and health supplementation, best training practices, and muscle recovery.

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