Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Rebecca Huff
Wondering which is better, myfitnesspal vs cronometer? Both act as a roadmap on your journey to better health. Each give you access to your daily calories, and the ability to track macronutrient and micronutrient goals. However, it's important to note that there is more to tracking than calorie counting.
That's where we find some differences in these two apps. When tracking for optimal health you'll wnt to be aware of and take responsibility for what you eat, and when you eat it. Technically speaking, you could even track how you eat it, since eating in a rush vs. eating mindfully makes a difference.
Tracking has come a long way
Back in the day, we used a paper food diary. Tracking my food intake and calculating nutrient levels on food entries was something I did whether I was dieting or not.
Eating the best food possible helped me keep my immune system at optimal performance. Back then, I used books to calculate the calories, fats, and proteins of food items.
Later, mobile apps and calorie counters made it easier for us to adjust our serving sizes based on our goals. For years, I used myfitnesspal, then I was introduced to Cronometer in May 2017. which I grew to love because of the enhanced functionality in tracking carbohydrates on the keto diet.
Both apps are helpful and I've outlined some of the details about each below to help you decide which is the best app for you. Although I wouldn't say this is an exhaustive list, it's a good starting point for assessing which app will best suit your goals.
Whether you use one or the other, keeping track of what you eat can be an eye-opening practice.
Cronometer vs MyFitnessPal
Each has the ability to scan new food items using a barcode scanner. For both apps, you simply place the barcode behind the camera, where you can see the barcode label while looking at the screen of your smartphone. This will start a search of the database for that particular food.
The barcode scanner makes it faster, easier, and more accurate to log the exact food and serving size.
Update 2022 MyFitnessPal puts barcode scanner behind a paywall
MyFitnessPal has just announced that they will put the barcode scanner behind a paywall starting October 1, 2022, costing premium users about $20/month. This means that the only way to get a free barcode scanner to log calories will be with Cronometer.
All Cronometer users have access to our Barcode Scanner. Quickly scan the barcode to match the product to the correct item in our database.
As mentioned above, the barcode scanner is useful in making sure you are logging the exact food in the right serving size. Without using the barcode scanner, it can be difficult to locate the exact food due to varying packaging, serving sizes, and ingredients. I think this will be a deal-breaker for many MyFitnessPal users who will likely now switch over to the Cronometer app.
If you like to use the app as a form of social interaction, making friends, and sharing, myfitnesspal will allow you to add friends from contacts, Facebook, email, or their username. With Cronometer, the only way to add a friend is with their email address. (It has to be the email address they used to sign up.)
While I appreciate the ability to build community, it's not enough to be a deal-breaker for me when it comes to which tracking app I prefer.
Ease of Use and Functionality
Both apps are appreciated for their ease of use, neither are complicated to figure out or understand. Some users say myfitnesspal is easier to use Cronometer is much more detailed and gives a better picture of the nutrient profile of foods.
From the website,
Cronometer is the most accurate, comprehensive nutrition tracking app on earth. Unlike other apps on the market, our nutritional data is curated from verified, accurate sources. We aim to provide a complete solution – no matter what diet you choose to be on.
From a visual standpoint, I prefer the look of the Cronometer app in dark mode.
Connecting other trackers and apps
With Cronometer, you can connect an Oura ring, Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, Strava, Withings, Qardio, Biosense, and ketomojo. Myfitnesspal allows connections with a longer list, including Garmin and Fitbit. However, it does not include the Oura ring, which I wear and use for tracking activity, sleep, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and much more, so that is definitely a deal-breaker for me in which app to use.
Nutrition Tracking and Scoring
Cronometer Gold is the clear winner when it comes to nutrition scores, with the ability to select vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, immune support, antioxidants, bone health, metabolism support, bone health, blood health, oral health, and data quality.
Calorie counting doesn't have to be complicated but it does need to be accurate!
Accuracy with Database
Here's an area where Cronometer is a clear winner. When I used MFP to track for the Trim Healthy Mama diet, I noticed so many discrepancies in the macros of certain foods. There were times when I wondered if some troll was intentionally adding foods with incorrect macros, it was that bad.
With MFP, community contributions allow a huge margin for error. Reading the reviews, you'll see it can be a problem with accuracy.
I started Keto in July. MyFitnessPal seemed pretty cool. Spent hours setting it up and entering recipes only to discover the macros were not reliable due to all the contributions by the community. I was so frustrated. Then I found a review of several apps (on the Keto Mojo website) and discovered I wasn't the only one concerned about the unreliability of the macros on both MFP and CarbManager (tried that too). Behold Cronometer! I love this app. It draws from nutrition databases with minimal community contributions so much, much more reliability. There are many more free features. The user interface is easy to navigate. I'm very happy with CronometerUser Review on Cronometer
Cronometer Pros and Cons
Count your calories, ensure you're meeting nutrient targets, and see your progress over time. You can edit a serving size, activity, biometric, or note at any time by tapping directly on the item itself. You can find editing options by selecting the settings menu or swiping an entry to the left or right.
Recent updates give you more ways to customize your targets including the thermic effect of food, the ability to exclude
For me, it's absolutely worth it to upgrade to Gold.
- With Cronometer Gold you can use certain features to organize your diary into separate groups or meals.
- This also allows you to start including timestamps.
- Track 89 micronutrients.
- Set custom weight, macro, and nutrient targets to help you meet your personalized goals.
- Fasting timer will help you track your intermittent fasts and see the benefits over time.
- Accurate Nutrition Data – Every food submission is verified for accuracy.
- When you join the community you'll get tips and inspiration from other users in the Facebook groups and on the Crono Forums.
- Create custom foods, recipes, exercises and your own biometrics to track your progress.
- Share your custom foods and recipes with friends who use Cronometer.
- Choose diet support based on the type of diet lifestyle you follow; whether Vegan, Keto, Paleo, or any diet plan recommended by your physician.
- Access to Nutrient Oracle – discover top contributing foods of specific nutrients with the Oracle feature. (Especially helpful if you know which nutrients you need more of, say for example, magnesium.)
Using Vital Wellness cards, I discovered I'm low on magnesium. With Cronometer Gold, I use the Nutrient Oracle to see exactly what to eat to reach my daily target of 400 mg per day.
Using the app, I discovered that Hemp Seeds contain 700 mg per 1.27 kcal. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium! Fish sauce contains a surprising amount of magnesium as well.
While you can create a recipe using the recipe editor on the foods tab, Gold users can also create recipes on the Diary page. Enter all the ingredients of your recipe into your diary. Then select all of the items by holding down the shift key on your keyboard while clicking the diary entries. Then, right-click on your selection and choose Create recipe from selected items. This will bring you to the Foods tab recipe editor with the ingredients list of a new recipe pre-populated from your diary. Simply add a name and serving size and save your recipe so you can use it again! You can also use the Explode recipe option to do the reverse of this!
Default Macronutrient Targets
With Cronometer Gold you can set your macro ratios to fixed values or use a Keto Calculator.
With the Keto Calculator, you can choose the program level you prefer – rigorous, moderate, relaxed, or customize. Setting your default to “rigorous” will set your non-fiber carbs to 20 grams per day whereas the relaxed setting will change it to 50 grams.
In addition, you can check or uncheck tracking of fiber, sugar alcohols, allulose, and fructose. With this feature you can track net carbs or total carbs, it's up to you.
Within the energy settings, you can adjust for your activity level. Lightly active, sedentary, moderately active, or very active are the choices here. When you change the setting for your activity level the app will adjust your daily calories to include total energy burned.
In addition, you can check the box for “Thermic Effect of Food” which is an estimate of the energy needed to digest your food. This will dynamically update your calories burned based on the foods you log in your diary.
This is helpful if you're eating foods with a high fiber count and low calories. Some call these “negative calorie” foods because they require more calories to chew and digest than they contain. For example:
Either way, you choose whether to toggle these on or off when using Cronometer. I love to see how the thermic effect of food adds up and find it encourages me to eat more vegetables, so I have mine toggled on.
MyFitnessPal Pros and Cons
The free version of MyFitnessPal allows for nutrition tracking with the food database. Although to do much else, you'll need the premium version. With the free version, there are lots and lots of ads.
One “pro” for myfitnesspal is the addition of workouts, although you do get more if you upgrade, there are some available on the free version. The “Recipe Discovery” section is also new and has recipes grouped into categories like “pantry staples” and “low sodium” as well as breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and so forth. If you choose to make a recipe, you can click the “log to diary” button at the bottom of the page to add a serving.
That's a pretty awesome feature, although I don't see myself searching recipes this way, since I prefer physical cookbooks or making up my own recipes. This feature is a bit lacking with Cronometer.
When you add a recipe to your database with myfitnesspal, you can import from a URL, making it fairly simple to add recipes you've found online. It would be great if Cronometer could catch up in this area for those who like to use recipes found on blogs, etc. Again, not a deal-breaker for me since I would have to manually input recipes either way because I prefer physical cookbooks.
While you can create a recipe on using the recipe editor on the foods tab, Crono Gold users can also create recipes on the Diary page. On a computer, just enter all the ingredients of your recipe into your diary. Then select all of the items by holding down the shift key on your keyboard while clicking the diary entries. Next, right-click on your selection and choose “Create Recipe From Selected Items.”
Doing this will bring you to the Foods tab recipe editor with the ingredients list of a new recipe pre-populated from your diary. Now you can simply add a name and the serving size and save your recipe to use again. Use the Explode recipe feature to do the reverse of this.
Exploding a recipe can help to highlight ingredients within a recipe or make one-time changes to recipes easier. To explode a recipe, add the recipe to your diary, then right click on the entry. You can do this on the mobile app by swiping the diary entry to the right to reveal the settings menu. Then choose Explode Recipe. The ingredients will now be separated into their own separate entries where you can choose to delete, edit or add ingredients. You can easily save this new version by multi-selecting the ingredients and choosing “Create Recipe from Selected Items.”
According to MyFitnessPal, premium members are 65% more likely to reach their weight loss goals. The ads are really obnoxious, so when I used MFP I paid for the premium version. This is another reason I prefer Cronometer Gold, as I feel like if you are going to upgrade, you get more. At the time of this article publication, it costs a full $10 more (annually) to upgrade MFP than Cronometer. Unless you're using it for the workouts and recipes, the upgrade doesn't seem worth it to me.
Only the paid version includes:
- Tracking macros by gram or percentage. Customizable Carbs, Proteins and Fat Goals
- Guided Fitness & Nutrition Plans – Coaching and content that helps you reach your goals.
- Home Screen Dashboard Customization – Put what's most important to you on the main screen dashboard.
- Food Analysis and Insights that help you follow your progress with data tracking.
- Meals and Recipes so you don't have to spend time planning – just learn how to eat with your specific goals in mind.
- Ads removed.
- Adjust your day's calorie goals automatically when you log your exercise for the day.
- Quickly add carbs, fats, and proteins with the quick-add feature that helps you log your meals super quick and with little effort.
- Export your progress by downloading it as a CSV file so you can import to a spreadsheet.
Other Tips for Using the Tracking Apps
Creating healthy meal plans each week also helped to make sure we ate a well-balanced diet. When I needed to adjust, food tracking gave me the motivation to stay at my goal weight.
Meal prep veggies if nothing else and you'll be that much closer to sticking to your goals. Each week cut up celery, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and other veggies to store in containers that you can easily grab when you need a bite to eat.
For Keto dieters, keeping serving size containers of nuts, cheese, chicken, grilled steak, and avocado on hand will ensure you have something to eat when you start feeling hungry.
Turn on reminders within the app that will prompt you to track your foods.
Bottom Line: Use it and Lose It
Whether you decide on MFP or cronometer.com, the main thing to note is that you have to use it to lose it! Having the app on your phone, or even paying for the premium version won't help you lose weight or get healthy unless you use it. Both MyFitnessPal and Cronometer are beneficial for keeping you aware of what you eat and how you feel.
You can still do it the old-school way! The year Body for Life was published was in 1999, after my fourth child was born, I picked up a copy of this book. I was ready for a challenge. That was the first of many macro tracking books I've followed. Using a tracking app makes any challenge, diet or fitness plan a little bit easier and makes you more successful.
Want help tracking macros, choosing a diet plan, staying on track with your fitness goals and more? I'm happy to help. Contact me at [email protected] or add me on either app.