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For some people, keeping track of food and calorie intake can be helpful for promoting weight loss.

Research shows that people who log calories lose more weight and are more likely to keep the weight off in the long run (1, 2).

These days, counting calories is very easy. There are many useful websites and apps that help you log your meals and track your intake.

This article reviews the 8 best calorie counters available today.

All of them are accessible online, and signing up takes less than a minute. They all have apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Last but not least, most of them are free.

Keep in mind

Even though logging calories can be a helpful weight loss tool for some, it’s important to note that tracking food and calories can lead to unhealthy behaviors like food obsession and disordered eating tendencies in both men and women.

Plus, tracking foods and logging calories are not always necessary for healthy weight loss. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to find methods that are effective and don’t have a negative impact on your physical or mental health (3, 4, 5).

Here’s what we took into account to select the best calorie counter apps:

  • Transparency. We selected apps whose websites were transparent about the apps’ features, FAQs, and subscription or billing options to keep you from unwanted surprises along your calorie-tracking journey.
  • User reviews. We focused on highly rated apps that included user reviews that were no more than a few months old.
  • User-friendliness. We did our best to choose the most user-friendly apps to ensure you’d have the best possible experience.
  • Price. We included options suitable for all budgets, from fully free to subscription-only apps.
  • Features. We carefully chose apps with the best possible features in their free versions or with features worth paying for.
  • Reviews. We did a deep dive into customer reviews to see whether each app is useful and effective and whether it lacks something that you may be looking for.

Best overall

MyFitnessPal

Price: $19.99 per month or $79.99 per year; basic version available for free

MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie counters right now.

It tracks your weight and calculates a recommended daily calorie intake. It also has a well-designed food diary and an exercise log.

The home page provides a clear picture of how many calories you’ve consumed during the day. In addition, it shows your remaining recommended intake and the number of calories you’ve burned by exercising.

If you’re using a fitness tracking device, MyFitnessPal can likely sync with it to include its data in the exercise log.

The app tracks your progress toward your goals and offers chat forums with fellow users. The forums include conversations, recipes, tips, and personal success stories.

MyFitnessPal’s nutrition database is extensive, containing more than 11 million foods. You can also download recipes from the internet or create custom foods and dishes.

The app even saves your favorite meals for convenient logging.

Additionally, MyFitnessPal’s barcode scanner allows you to enter the nutritional information of some packaged foods instantly.

Each day is presented as a pie chart, showing your breakdown of carbs, protein, and fat. You can also write a note for each day, recording how things went or how you were feeling.

MyFitnessPal does offer a free version. However, some of its features — such as meal prep and recipes, macronutrient counters, and guided fitness — can be accessed only in the premium version.

Pros

  • largest database available in a diet tracker
  • includes many restaurant foods
  • can download recipes online and calculate the calorie content of each serving
  • ability to “quick add” calories when you don’t have time to log the whole meal

Cons

  • since other users upload most foods, calorie count may not always be entirely accurate
  • multiple entries may exist for the same product
  • serving sizes in the database may be hard to edit, creating difficulties if your serving was smaller or larger than the one listed
  • studies have linked MyFitnessPal usage to eating disorders (3, 4, 5)

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app | Instructional video

Best free features

Lose It!

Price: $39.99 per year; basic version available for free

Lose It! is another health tracker that includes an easy-to-use food diary and an exercise log. You can also connect a pedometer or other fitness device.

Based on your weight, height, age, and goals, Lose It! provides a personalized recommendation for calorie intake. It then tracks your calories on the home page.

It features a comprehensive food database and an icon representing each food entry. The food diary is simple and user-friendly. Adding new foods is not complicated.

Additionally, Lose It! has a barcode scanner for packaged foods, and common foods are saved for quick entry later on.

Lose It! presents weight changes on a graph, provides access to an active chat community, and keeps a daily and weekly total.

Its tab called “challenges” allows you to participate in dietary challenges or make your own.

With a premium membership, you can set more goals, log additional information, and get some extra features.

Pros

  • food database complete with popular restaurant, grocery store, and brand-name foods, all of which are verified by the app’s team of experts
  • lets you set reminders to log your meals and snacks

Cons

  • hard to log home-cooked meals or calculate their nutritional value
  • app can be tricky to navigate
  • doesn’t track micronutrients

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app | Instructional video

Best fully free

FatSecret

Price: free

FatSecret is a free calorie counter. It includes a food diary, a nutrition database, healthy recipes, an exercise log, a weight chart, and a journal.

A barcode scanner helps you track packaged foods.

The home page shows total calorie intake and the breakdown of carbs, protein, and fat — displayed both for the day and for each meal.

FatSecret offers a monthly summary view, which gives total calories consumed each day and averages for each month. This feature may be convenient for tracking your overall progress.

This calorie counter is very user-friendly. The app also includes a chat community where users can swap success stories and get tips, recipes, and more.

FatSecret offers a feature called “challenges,” wherein users can create or participate in dietary challenges in a closed group of people.

The website is full of information and tips, as well as articles on a variety of topics.

Pros

  • comprehensive food database, including many supermarket and restaurant foods
  • foods submitted by other users are highlighted so users can verify whether the information is accurate
  • can present net carbs, which may come in handy for low carb dieters

Cons

  • interface is rather cluttered and confusing

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app

Best for specific diets

Cronometer

Price: $49.92 per year; basic version available for free

Cronometer lets you easily keep track of your diet, exercise, and body weight.

It offers exact serving sizes and a useful exercise database. If you are pregnant or lactating, you can select a customized profile based on higher calorie needs.

You can also tell Cronometer if you’re following a specific diet, such as the paleo diet, a low carb diet, or a low fat vegetarian diet. This changes the macronutrient recommendations.

The food diary is very simple and user-friendly. Below it, you’ll find a bar chart showing the breakdown of carbs, fat, and protein for that day alongside the total calories consumed.

Cronometer is particularly useful for tracking micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

The app offers a Gold upgrade that eliminates ads, provides advanced analysis, and includes some extra features.

Pros

  • easy to use
  • allows you to sync data from health devices to the app and import weight, body fat percentage, sleep data, and activities
  • tracks all micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and trace elements
  • offers voiceover support to make the app accessible for visually impaired people

Cons

  • can add home-cooked recipes only on the website, not the app; however, the meal will be available in the app after that
  • no social community of users

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app

Best for weight loss

Noom

Price: $199 per year, although price may vary depending on the length of the suggested weight loss plan

Noom is not only a calorie counter but also an app designed to help you lose weight and sustain weight loss.

The app asks for specific information, such as your age, height, weight, gender, and lifestyle, and uses it to create a calorie budget — an estimate of the number of calories you should consume each day. It then uses your calorie budget to help you reach a calorie deficit.

Noom encourages you to track the number of calories you consume each day, as well as take your weight at least once a day.

It also helps create diet plans without limiting or restricting certain food items. Instead, the app focuses on calories and nutrients as a way to promote weight loss.

Noom has different price options that vary depending on the length of the suggested plan, but it does offer a free trial.

Pros

  • no off-limits foods or food types
  • promotes lifestyle changes instead of temporary changes

Cons

  • no free version

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app

Best for building healthy habits

Lifesum

Price: $9.99 per month, $24.99 per 3 months, or $50 per year; basic version available for free

Lifesum is a calorie counter app that focuses on teaching you how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Aside from tracking your calories and macros, Lifesum provides a food and meal rating system that explains whether a food is nutritious and whether your meal is healthy or imbalanced.

However, no food is off-limits, and the app uses constructive language that does not categorize foods as “good” or “bad.”

In addition, Lifesum tracks water intake, body measurements, and exercise and adjusts your daily calorie goal based on calories burned during physical activity.

Lifesum is very easy to use. Its home page shows total calorie and macro intake and a breakdown of foods and calories per meal, which you can log manually or with a barcode scanner. You can also create foods, meals, and recipes.

Upgrading to premium starts at $4.17 per month for an annual subscription. This unlocks more features, such as a more detailed nutrient breakdown, recipes, insights, and educational content to learn how to make healthier food choices.

It also gives you access to multiple meal plans suitable for different diets, including paleo, keto, intermittent fasting, vegan, and even Scandinavian and Mediterranean.

Pros

  • has a food and meal rating system designed to encourage healthier choices
  • easy food logging and a clean and decluttered interface
  • includes educational content

Cons

  • food entries uploaded by users may be inaccurate
  • automatically syncs with health apps like Apple Health and Google Fit, but an upgrade to premium is needed to sync with additional fitness apps
  • free recipes available on the website, but premium subscription required to access them through the app
  • no online community

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app

Best for diet quality

MyNetDiary

Price: $8.99 per month or $59.99 per year; basic version available for free

MyNetDiary is an intuitive and comprehensive calorie tracker that provides advice and feedback to motivate you through your health journey.

Logging your food is quick and easy — you can do it manually or by using a voice log or a barcode scanner. The food log includes a picture-based portion guide to help you measure food quantities more accurately.

It also has a food scoring system that grades foods by imitating how a nutrition expert would score their healthfulness based on the nutrition label or profile and serving size. This feature is meant to help you compare foods to choose the best option and improve your diet quality.

MyNetDiary lets you fully customize your daily calorie and macro targets and can be used to support weight loss, weight maintenance, and special diets, including the dietary needs of those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It provides daily nutrient and meal analysis, macros charts, and access to numerous recipes — including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free — and even allows you to import recipes and calculate their nutrition information.

Its premium version also tracks micronutrients and grants you access to meal planners, diet plans, blood pressure and cholesterol tracking, and a diabetes-focused dashboard that tracks blood sugar and medication.

Pros

  • has a food grading system meant to help improve your diet quality
  • includes meals, weigh-ins, water, and blood glucose reminders, as well as medication tracking
  • syncs with health apps
  • provides access to an online community that connects you to users and MyNetDiary’s dietitians

Cons

  • syncs with health apps like Apple Health, but integration with fitness apps is available only by upgrading to a premium account

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app

Best for simplicity

Calory

Price: $14.99 per year; basic version available for free

If you’re looking for the simplest calorie tracker app, then Calory may be just the one for you.

With Calory, you can log either calories or foods, but it only tracks your calorie intake.

Its home page displays a bar chart with the percentage of calories consumed and your day’s remaining calories, which the app calculates when you set your goals. However, you can also manually customize your calorie target.

The history tab shows a breakdown of the foods and calories consumed per meal, along with weekly, monthly, and yearly charts of your total calorie intake and weight changes.

Calory’s food database is linked to the USDA food database. Logging your food is relatively easy, although the database may be tricky to use.

Additionally, the app saves your most recent food logs and provides a list of common foods to make future entries easier.

Upgrading to premium unlocks macro and water tracking, a barcode scanner, recipes, and access to a premium food database.

Pros

  • includes reminders to log your calories
  • food database linked to the basic USDA food database

Cons

  • tracks daily calories only; premium upgrade required to track macros
  • USDA Food Database may be tricky to use
  • syncs with Apple Health only
  • no social community

More: Website | iPhone app | Android app

Searching for top health products and services?

We do the work so you don’t have to. Our evidence-driven reviews and brand comparisons make your search simple and help you live your healthiest life.

PriceFeaturesBest for
MyFitnessPal$79.99/ year• largest food database in a diet tracker
• extensive recipe and exercise databases
• syncs with fitness devices
overall
Lose It!$39.99/ year• expert-verified food, restaurant, grocery store, and brand-name foods database
• includes an active community feature
• syncs with health apps
free features
FatSecret$0• food database includes supermarket and restaurant foods
• provides access to community challenges and forums
• includes healthy recipes and exercise log
fully free
Cronometer$49.92/ year• tracks both macro- and micronutrients
• includes a fasting timer for people following intermittent fasting
• user-friendly interface
specific diets
Noom$199/year• provides a weight loss plan based on a psychology-based evaluation
• no food or food type is off-limits
• focuses on cresting lifestyle changes
weight loss
Lifesum$50/year• includes educational content
• provides food and meal ratings to encourage healthier choices
• offers vegan, keto, paleo, and intermittent fasting meal plans, among others
building healthy habits
MyNetDiary$59.99/ year• provides numerous diet and nutrients analyses and insights for free
• has a food grading system to improve diet quality
• includes numerous recipes and tracking reminders
diet quality
Calory$14.99/ year• database is linked to the USDA food database
• tracks only calorie intake unless you upgrade to premium
• includes tracking reminders
simplicity

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a calorie counter app:

  • Preferences. Every calorie counter app is different. Some are more individualistic and straightforward, while others connect you with their own user community. Be sure to choose the app that best suits your personal needs.
  • Special diets. Some apps are specially designed to help you achieve your dietary goals when following a specific dietary pattern, such as keto, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or low carb.
  • Membership billing. Take the app’s billing method into account if you decide to upgrade to a premium version. While most apps list their monthly fees, some may charge you annually.
  • Compatibility. Some apps automatically integrate data from other devices or apps, which can further help you achieve your goals.

What is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measure for energy. It’s an estimate of the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. You consume calories through food, and they provide you with energy to maintain life and fuel physical work (6, 7).

The calories you consume each day make up your calorie intake, while the ones your body burns through physical activity, digestion, or basal metabolic rate compose your calorie expenditure (8).

“Energy balance” is a term used to indicate that your calorie intake matches your expenditure. According to the “calories in, calories out” paradigm, an energy balance helps maintain your body weight (7, 8).

In contrast, creating a calorie deficit leads to weight loss, while a calorie excess or surplus leads to weight gain (7, 8).

A calorie deficit can be achieved by reducing intake or increasing expenditure — or both. In contrast, a calorie surplus is achieved in the opposite way: by increasing intake, reducing expenditure, or both.

Is it safe to count calories for weight loss?

Research shows that calorie counting by logging your food intake may be a successful weight loss strategy because it helps increase awareness of current and desired eating behaviors (1, 2).

However, studies also note that people who use apps to self-monitor diet and physical activity are more likely to engage in disordered eating behaviors (9, 10, 11).

Counting calories may be especially unsafe for people with a history of disordered eating.

In fact, one study found that calorie-counting apps may increase the desire to be underweight, and some users even acknowledge the apps’ role in worsening their disordered eating behaviors (10).

If you’re concerned about safety, shifting the focus from counting calories for weight loss to eating intuitively to improve well-being may be a healthier and more successful approach in the long run (12).

How accurate are calorie counter apps?

While calorie counter apps have millions of foods to choose from, with different available serving sizes to match what’s on your plate, they are still not 100% accurate for multiple reasons, which ultimately come down to human error.

On one hand, food logging still requires that users take time and effort to record food intake. While technology has made it easier, the process still relies on users’ discipline — and even their memory, if they log their intake afterward (2).

On the other hand, users may incorrectly track their food intake, either by inaccurately logging or estimating amounts or by neglecting to track some ingredients, which may add or subtract calories from their calorie budget.

Summary

Calories are a unit used to estimate the energy foods provide. Calorie counting apps may be safe for some people but are not recommended for those with a history of disordered eating. Plus, they’re not 100% accurate, primarily due to human error.

Calorie counters and nutrient trackers are incredibly useful if you are trying to lose, maintain, or even gain weight.

They can also help you make specific changes to your diet, such as eating more protein or fewer carbs.

However, there is no need to track your intake constantly.

Try tracking it occasionally for a few days or weeks to get a more nuanced view of your diet.

That way, you’ll know exactly where to make adjustments to achieve your goals.