MyFitnessPal vs SparkPeople

In an effort to start the new year off right, I’ve decided to start food tracking. I’m really not all that concerned with calorie counting as that gets old really quick. I want the focus to be solely on what nutrients I’m consuming and making sure I’m eating the correct foods to properly fuel my body for running and other workouts.

There are countless options out there: MyFitnessPal, Lose It, Daily Burn, SparkPeople, The Daily Plate, Fit Day – the list goes on for miles. I experimented with each and poked around on the individual sites to see what features they had to offer.

An elimination process left the best {in my opinion} two standing: MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople. Last Monday I set a goal to use both for one week to get a feel for which would work best for me.

myfitnesspal vs sparkpeople

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MyFitnessPal

Pros

  1. The barcode scanner. It made logging items SO much easier.
  2. The database is enormous. I hardly ever had to manually enter an item.
  3. The ability to change the meal names from Breakfast, Lunch, etc. to 9-11am, 11am-1pm, etc. Personally I found this helpful to make sure I was eating my meals at normal times.
  4. Tracks daily carbohydrates, fat, protein, and sugar.
  5. Free

Cons

  1. The mobile app is a little buggy at sometimes.
  2. It suggested my daily caloric intake be 1200 calories. That’s REALLY low.
  3. Water tracker on the bottom of the page. I always forgot to log it because I didn’t see it.

SparkPeople

Pros

  1. It gave me a calorie range of 1200-1550.
  2. Built in meal plans and tons of suggested foods; takes the guesswork out of healthy eating.
  3. SparkRecipes
  4. More visually pleasing than MyFitnessPal
  5. Great online support
  6. Free

Cons

  1. Database wasn’t as thorough as MyFitnessPal.
  2. Entering items felt monotonous.
  3. You can’t copy over only certain parts of a meal to another day. Sometimes I would eat the same meal the next day for breakfast, with the exception of two items. Rather than copying over just two items, I had to copy over four and then delete two.

To be honest, once Thursday rolled around I had just about had it with having to enter food on both sites. I made the decision that morning to cut ties and solely use … MyFitnessPal. So, what tipped the scale in it’s favor?

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The barcode scanner. This feature made all the difference when it came to tracking my foods for the day. No searching the database, just scan and add – super simple!

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I’m sure the system isn’t perfect, but I haven’t come across any items yet where the amounts didn’t match up.

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My next project: cut down the fat I consume and up the protein. Most days I was surpassing my allotted fat grams and just barely getting 50% of my protein for the day – not good. Definitely something I need to work on.

How (if at all) do you track your food? What foods do you suggest I add into my diet to make sure I get enough protein?

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20 Comments

  1. I don’t track, but I definitely need to up my protein and fats. I’ve been eating more nut butter–almond butter in my oatmeal or on my English muffin for breakfast, or eggs. That seems to help. Then, at lunch, I try to have a salad and some Greek yogurt to get the protein. Dinner isn’t usually an issue, but I know I need to watch it!

  2. I’ve used fitness pal last yr and it was great. A friend told me she used spark, I just looked at it yesterday. There is a lot of “help” in that site, but for me, I like the simplicity of pal…I don’t need another fb, dm, Twitter thing to keep up with!

  3. I agree, another thing to keep up with. There seems to be an awesome community on Spark, but I just wouldn’t be able to invest the time into it..

  4. I love My Fitness Pal. I used to be a SparkPeople devotee, but I wanted a change, so I started using MFP earlier this fall. I’ve already lost ten pounds. I have not used the barcode scanner yet, but I def should. It would make my life so much easier.

  5. I JUST started using MyFitnessPal and HOLY SHIZ the database is awesome. I haven’t had to enter one thing manually yet. It told me my intake should be 1200 as well, but that’s right for me if I want to lose 1.5 lbs a week. The problem I had is that it said I only needed like 48g of protein a day, and that is wrong according to every website and my personal training. I need upwards of 100g to keep and gain muscle.
    I used to use the Tap and Track app for my iPhone which was nice because you didn’t need an internet connection to use it, but I’m totally sold on MFP now.
    Oh, and I’ve tracked my food for over 5 years now. If I’m really low on protein one day, I’ll have a low calorie protein shake (one that’s under 140 cals and has 21-25g of protein). Egg whites are good too. And Chobani yogurt. You can sneak those in smoothies if you’re not in the mood for either.

    • (Just in case) To customise your nutrition goals on website only: on “My Home” tab click on “Goals”, then “Change Goals”. Choose “Custom” option, update %s & save. I needed to change Fibre requirement to 25g, as it was too low.

  6. One quick note is that the SparkPeople Android Food tracker DOES have a barcode scanner as well! When you’re on the main food tracking page, it’s the barcode looking icon on the top left of the page!

    Either way you go, best of luck with your goals, and thanks for considering SparkPeople!

    Tim (VP Marketing, SparkPeople)

  7. I’ve been using my fitnesspal and I really like it. My username is lizrunsdc if you are friending people on there!

  8. I’d never really thought about tracking but it could be a good exercise. I hadn’t heard of most of these programs so I appreciate the rundown. I look forward to hearing your progress! thanks for commenting on my blog the other day. I have just added you to my new list of blogs to keep up with on my reader!

  9. I love MFP!!! You can manually change your calories on the app within the settings. I had to lower mine because I wasn’t losing with what they suggested :(

  10. mfp for the barcode scanner, sparkpeople for the meal planner, and jefit for the workout routines. awesome!

  11. I am kind of late in the game! However, I personally like Sparkpeople better because of fitbit, I saw no difference with the use of the scanner. perhaps, sparkpeople has improved. I use the fitbit flex to sync information and I can clearly see it on Sparkpeople and no clear identification that it is tracking the info on Myfitnesspal, besides showing the difference in calories burned!
    I am sure someone can tell me where the information is kept. Sparkpeople is a little over hyped on community if it is not an interest for some users but the site has really become user friendly (I can use it with very little thought needed!

  12. I’ve been using Sparkpeople for a while, both online & the app, and I love it! But the trainers at my gym (who i’ve been asking for tips & advice) told me they have their clients go on MyFitnessPal. I found this blog looking for a comparison between both, and it sounds like the “scale tipper” was the barcode scanner, but Sparkpeople has that on their app, too! I think I’ll stick to SparkPeople! :)

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