Ok.. so about a week ago I started using an app on my phone to track my eating. A day later, I had downloaded four apps and had decided to compare all four and pick the best one to use longer term. In case you missed it, the four apps were..
– Lose It
– My Plate
– My Fitness Pal
– My Net Diary
I think the first day I attempted to log the same thing (all my meals) to all four was Saturday or Sunday. My mind kept bouncing back and forth about what was better in one versus another and then finding similarities in all four. All four have basic bar code scanning. They all have a vast food database with which to search. Adding food is somewhat similar in all four and they all show the same basic info in some way or another. But the similarities end there and I knew I was going to really have to go deeper than this skin layer to properly evaluate. So here is the list of basic criteria I started looking at.
– Ease of navigation.. including user friendly display.
– Strength of database – including items being found with the bar code scan, searching for and finding what I was looking for, having the stats on items be present and accurate (some “user contributed” foods did not include the breakdown of fat/carbs/protein which is a must).
– Ease of adding the same thing on subsequent days.
– Custom building a recipe from ingredients.
– How many clicks to log daily weight.
– Ability to sync with my FitBit (or other apps). Keeping in mind there are free versions and paid versions and probably most paid versions can do this.
– Add’s on screen and pop-up adds – again, this probably goes away with the paid version.
– Ability to add exercise.
– Ease of switching days.
– Data analytics, like charts and graphs.
The list can go on, but those were the heavy hitters. What I don’t care about much is the “social network” aspect of a couple of the apps. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but that’s not what I’m looking for from the app, so I’m not evaluating that.
What I discovered after about two full days of logging everything in four apps, is that doing that is a big time suck and I had to narrow the field. Yesterday morning I spent a good couple of hours bouncing back and forth and trying different things and concluded that “Lose It” was going to be the first loser.
There were a couple of different factors, but in the end, I think their dirty database did them in. Not only could I NOT find a lot of what I was looking for, when I did find something it may or may not have been added to the database from a trusted source and may or may not have the breakdown of nutrition stats. I say may or may not have, because there was no good way to tell. I also did not care much for the main “landing page” display and the way they laid out the window with the food details. They had some good features, but not enough different or large enough to overcome the database issue.
So now I am left with three. I have decided that I am going to continue through a seven day period with all three and then take a closer look at some of the data analytics available with these free versions. After that (probably sometime this weekend) another one will get cut.
Stay tuned if you want to see how this Food Tracking App Saga plays out.