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Top 5 FREE Nutrition Apps for Your Smartphone

June 13, 2011
Rob Masterson, RD

Today, cell phones aren’t just devices we use for making calls. No, technology has gone far beyond that. For many, they’re our alarm clock, our daily planner, our radio, our weatherman, our personal computer, and much, much more.

So why can’t they also be an aid in eating healthier? The answer: they can! With the arrival of smartphones and the thousands of applications (apps) that are available for them it was only a matter of time before some health conscious techies put together some fabulous nutrition apps. And while there are TONS of great nutrition apps out there, here are [NL]‘s top 5 FREE apps that delivered the most “bang without the buck.”

1. Fooducate by Fooducate, LTD. (www.fooducate.com)

This app made the top of our list for a multitude of reasons. For starters, it allows you to scan a product barcode to see product highlights, both good and bad. From there you can select better alternatives by comparing the nutrition information Fooducate analyzes and makes available to you including whether a product has excessive sugar, trans fat, additives and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, and confusing serving sizes. Better yet, the Fooducate app was developed by dietitians and concerned parents and has no influence from food manufacturers, supplement companies, specific diets, or any other agency.

Other Features…

  • available for iPhone and Android
  • barcode scanner
  • over 160,000 products analyzed and growing
  • analyzes both nutrition labels and ingredients lists of products

2. Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal, LLC (www.myfitnesspal.com)

This app is a close second with plenty of terrific features that make it much more than a simple calorie counter. It has the single largest food database of any Android app with over 750,000 foods and counting. It also allows for food and exercise entry so you can keep track of your progress in both areas. For food specifically, it calculates calories and all the major nutrients like fats, carbs, protein, sugar, fiber, and cholesterol and can even store and remember foods you’ve eaten for easy access.

Other Features…

  • available on iPhone and Android
  • barcode scanner
  • recipe calculator (enter your own recipes to get a nutrient analysis)

3. TheCarrot by Health Analytic Services, INC. (www.thecarrot.com)

This particular app is more of an “all-inclusive” type that helps you keep track of many health aspects but its nutrition “tracker” component is terrific as well, providing in-depth nutritional and caloric information. What really makes this app stand out is its ability to incorporate many areas of your life that effect your health and track them so you can reinforce good behaviors and make changes to ones that are effecting you negatively.

Other Features…

  • available on iPhone only
  • multiple “trackers” (exercise, medications, pregnancy, blood sugar, sleep, and more)
  • can enter notes and add photos to trackers for further reinforcement

4. Lose It! by FitNow (www.loseit.com)

Lose It! is an app that focuses on weight loss (as its name implies) but also provides you with the ability to set goals and establish daily calories budgets as well as record your food and exercise. Like the other apps, it also has the ability to analyze your food and track nutrients like fat, carbs, and protein. And if your food isn’t in their database, you can add new foods yourself.

Other Features… 

  • available on the iPhone only
  • email or print detailed reports directly from you iPhone
  • works with or without a network connection
  • simple interface

5. Restaurant Nutrition by Foundation HealthCare Network (www.healthyandfitcommunities.com)

This one is a great guide when eating out and can help you choose healthier options in a pinch. Users can look up nutrition information from over 100 popular restaurants and over 15,000 food items. You can also journal your eating habits to track your food items, calories, and other nutritional information. Some reviews mention outdated menus and inaccurate calorie counts for some food items but as a general guide to help you choose better options, even at fast food restaurants, it does the job.

Other Features…

  • available on iPhone and Android
  • allows you to hide menu items with selected food allergies
  • map feature allows you to find nearby restaurants

WHATS YOUR APP-INION?

Know of some other great free nutrition apps out there? Have you tried some of the ones mentioned above? Let us know what you think and give us your personal review with a comment.

Rob Masterson on Twitter.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2011 9:17 am

    I’m a big fan of LoseIt; I use the app and/or website every day. Some of my favorite aspects are the simple interface, robust food catalog, ability to duplicate prior meals & create my own recipes.

    They’ve recently started working with Fitbit, so those little gadgets will automatically upload activity information to LoseIt, and then LoseIt will adjust your calorie budget accordingly. I don’t have a Fitbit myself, but it sounds intriguing.

    My one complaint is that the reports are too simplistic. The standard carb/fat/protein info is fine, but for a nutrition nerd like me, I want more detail (am I getting enough B12? what are the best sources of zinc among my most-eaten foods?).

    • June 13, 2011 12:13 pm

      Fitbit does sound intriguing. I think Lose It! has many great features, I thought the ability to create your own recipes was one of the best as well.

  2. June 13, 2011 7:33 pm

    I use Loseit myself. I track what I eat from breakfast to my midday snack most days to see what I have left for dinner. It is really helpful and the feature that allows you create your own food is handy. Nice article, Rob!

    • June 13, 2011 10:46 pm

      Thanks Elise,

      Yeah, Lose It! has a lot of great features and is definitely a handy app for your smartphone.

  3. December 20, 2012 11:00 pm

    I found a great Nutrition Search app called “Nutrition Data” by StarApps. The UI is very clean and easy to use. Only on Android it seems at this stage.

    • December 20, 2012 11:42 pm

      Thank you for the comment William. We’ll have to check that app out! Have you tried any of the apps we mentioned? If so, what do you think?

  4. Tony permalink
    January 1, 2013 11:34 am

    I personally use MyNetDiary. You can track your calorie intake and burnt calories through exercise but, besides that, it analyzes your food intake so as to check whether you’ve eaten too much salt, not enough fiber etc. Also, it gives you a weekly analyzis where you can check the amount of vitamins you take, and if you are lacking any. It’s pretty good.

    • January 5, 2013 9:53 pm

      Thanks for the comment Tony. There are SO many good apps out there, we’ll have to check that one out!

  5. Rachel permalink
    January 8, 2013 11:05 pm

    What is a good app to track calories and weight gain in pregnancy?

  6. Luca Nero permalink
    February 6, 2013 11:13 am

    Nutrition Pro Manager is the ultimate tool for Android to calibrate the best diet and significantly improve your nutrition knowledge.

    See the link for more info:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=it.smh17.nutrition.pro.manager

  7. Alex Grajiezko permalink
    January 29, 2014 5:39 pm

    also checkout the nutri facts app with really awesome UI at http://www.foodfacts.co/

  8. anne boney permalink
    February 5, 2014 2:43 pm

    Do any of these apps analyze for sugars (ie sucrose, lactose, maltose, fructose, glucoase) and starch? It doesn’t appear so, but hard to tell and hard to find out. Thanks,
    anne

    • February 5, 2014 10:20 pm

      Hi Anne,

      Great question. While each of them does provide information of sugar content they do not break them down to individual sugars such as maltose, lactose, etc. To see if these are included you would need to look at the ingredient list. These are provided with most of these apps.

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  1. 21st Century Fitness – The Smartphone Apps Revolution - Dont Mind Life | Dont Mind Life

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