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  • Writer's pictureJacob Bockelmann

MacrosFirst vs. MyFitnessPal

Updated: Jan 25


MacrosFirst vs MyFitnessPal


It's no secret that MyFitnessPal (MFP) is one of the most widely used nutrition-tracking apps out there. They practically invented the category when MFP launched nearly two decades ago. However, after a series of acquisitions (first to Under Armour in 2015, then to an investment firm in 2020), MFP has made several controversial decisions that have alienated many users. I’m talking about changes like moving previously free features, like the barcode scanner, behind a paywall, forcing increasingly aggressive ads upon their free users, and raising prices for Premium.


When I first started tracking macros six years ago, I was disappointed by the tracking apps out there. All of them, MFP included, seemed to treat macro tracking as an afterthought rather than the focus. I thought there had to be a better way and so I created MacrosFirst. I believed then that MacrosFirst was a better option than MFP for tracking macros, and now six years and tons of new features later, I believe it more than ever. As the creator of MacrosFirst, am I biased? Yes, but please understand that I wouldn’t have created the app in the first place if I didn’t have an honest understanding of our strengths relative to the other trackers out there.


In this article, I will compare MacrosFirst to MyFitnessPal across several key features to help you decide which tracker is better suited for you. At a high level I would summarize the comparison between MacrosFirst and MyFitnessPal this way:

  1. MacrosFirst's free tier includes many features which MyFitnessPal charges for.

  2. MacrosFirst includes features which MyFitnessPal does not offer at all.

  3. MacrosFirst is ad free for everyone.

For a more detailed comparison, feature by feature, read on!


1. Barcode Scanner


The MacrosFirst barcode scanner is not only lightning fast, but it's free and will always be free.

Barcode scanning foods in MyFitnessPal was previously free but it became a paid Premium feature on October 1, 2022.


At MacrosFirst, we believe in creating new value for our Premium subscribers by building new features that enhance our offering and not clawing back previously free features.


MacrosFirst also includes a nutrition label scanner which automatically pops up after scanning a barcode for which no food is found. The nutrition label scanner instantly imports all of the food's nutrition information so there's no manual data entry.



2. Custom Calorie and Macro Targets


Both MacrosFirst and MyFitnessPal allow you to create daily macro goals down to the gram, but just like barcode scanning, this capability is free in MacrosFirst and requires a Premium subscription in MyFitnessPal.



3. Food Database Accuracy


MyFitnessPal’s food database is massive and offers great coverage of foods from all over the world. They’ve accomplished this feat by allowing users to create custom foods and then promoting them to be available in the food search for everyone.


The downside of this approach is that their database has become flooded with tons of erroneous user-generated items with dubious nutrition data and confusing names. If you've used MyFitnessPal, then you’ve surely experienced this firsthand. I just searched for banana and was confronted with 25 different search results, all for different variations of a raw banana.


MacrosFirst takes a different approach by only offering verified foods in our global search results. This means that our database doesn’t contain as many foods, but the quality of the foods and the accuracy of their data is higher. You'll never have to shuffle through incorrect options or doubt if the macro information of your food is correct.



4. Auto-Calculate Portions Based on Macro Goals


MyFitnessPal, like all other trackers, makes it difficult to figure out the portion size of a given food required to hit a particular macro goal. How many times have you gone through the following in other nutrition-tracking apps?


"I'm going to eat rice, and I need 35g of carbs."

  1. *logs 1 cup of rice*

  2. MFP: 45g of carbs

  3. *changes portion to 0.6 cups of rice*

  4. MFP: 22.5g of carbs

  5. *changes portion to 0.7 cups of rice*

  6. MFP: 31.5g of carbs

  7. *changes portion to 0.8 cups of rice*

  8. MFP: 36g of carbs

  9. *changes portion to 0.78 cups of rice*

  10. MFP: 35.1g of carbs

"Ah, close enough."


It’s like throwing darts, hoping you get close to your target. This is because MyFitnessPal and other trackers ask you the wrong question: how much did you eat? Instead of, how much do you want to eat?


In MacrosFirst, we allow you to answer either question. If you know how much you want to eat, you enter “1 cup of rice”, or if you have a macro goal for a food, you can enter that. “35g of carbs”, and the app will auto-calculate your portion size using our patent pending solver. Done. No more throwing darts!


MacrosFirst auto-calculate portion

5. Calories from Exercise


MyFitnessPal has integrations that import your calories burned from exercise, typically from wearables, so that you can add them on top of your daily goal to eat what you burn.


We have chosen not to introduce similar functionality because wearable heart rate monitors are notoriously inaccurate and therefore yield dubious calorie burned estimates. Instead, we advocate for creating goals for rest and training days, sticking with them, and adjusting according to body weight changes. The scale is a much more trustworthy data source for understanding whether you’re in caloric surplus or deficit than a wearable.



6. Quick Add Macros


Want to log one-off estimated macros? If you have the free version of MyFitnessPal, this is what the process looks like:

  1. Search for "fat"

  2. Log fat

  3. Search for "carb"

  4. Log carb

  5. Search for protein

  6. Log protein

And if you ever want to go back, there aren't any notes regarding those additions. So if you forgot why you added those macros, tough luck. The real version of Quick Add is available only to Premium subscribers.


With MacrosFirst's free Quick Track feature, you can quickly track macros, calories, and other nutrients in one simple step with a custom name like "date night dinner" or "kid's birthday party" for easy recall.



7. Convert Calories from Alcohol to Macros


Are you an avid macro tracker but like to enjoy a few adult beverages from time to time? If so, you know how frustrating it can be to log alcoholic beverages in MyFitnessPal. The macros never line up with the calories because alcohol is not accounted for in any way.


With MacrosFirst, you can allocate calories from alcohol to any ratio of carbs and fats in one easy step. Now you can track alcohol easily and how you want it to show in your overall nutrition.



MacrosFirst alcohol to macros converter

8. Follow Friends


MyFitnessPal allows you to follow friends and view their daily log, one day at a time.


In MacrosFirst you can follow friends and view their daily log and all reporting including nutrition averages, charting, body weight trends, and more. This is a great way for coaches to keep up with their clients both at a granular level viewing individual food choices in the daily log and at a macro level viewing comprehensive trend reporting of nutrition and body weight changes over time.


When viewing a friends account you can also copy meals, foods, and recipes from their account into your own which is super helpful for friends and family members who eat together.


9. Ads


MyFitnessPal has always served ads to its free users, but in recent years they have become increasingly more aggressive and prevalent. They’ve introduced ads smack dab in the middle of your dashboard and food log diary and unskippable fullscreen video ads that greet you immediately after opening the app.


At MacrosFirst, we have zero ads. Why? Because we want to make your nutrition tracking as quick and seamless as possible. We aim to stay out of your way so that you can get on with your day.



10. Recipe Importer


MyFitnessPal has a great feature that makes it easy to import recipes from a webpage, automatically capturing and logging all of the ingredients and their serving sizes for easy tracking.


MacrosFirst does not yet have a recipe importer, but we plan to introduce this feature later in the year. For now, MyFitnessPal is the winner on this front.



11. Your Voice & Community


At MacrosFirst we're all about building an encouraging and supportive community. If you ever reach out to MacrosFirst through Instagram, Reddit, or hello@macrosfirst.com, there's a 100% chance that you’ll be engaging directly with one of the four people who build the software, including our co-founders. We handle all concerns and issues personally and with care.


Your voice and feedback directly inform our product roadmap and future features. We are a small team and cherish our direct connection to our community of users.


Feature Comparison

Feature

MacrosFirst

MyFitnessPal

Barcode Scanner

Free

Premium

Daily Macro Goals by gram

Free

Premium

Track Bodyweight

Free

Free

Integrations

Free

Free

Advertisements

None

None for Premium

Meal Time

Free

Premium

Macro Totals by Meal

Free

Premium

Quick Track Macros

Free

Premium

Fully-Verified Food Database

Free

N/A

Macro Goals by Meal

Free

N/A

Share Foods, Meals, Recipes

Free

Free

Nutrition Label Scanner

Free

N/A

Convert Alcohol to Macros

Free

N/A

Auto-Calculate Portion Size

Free

N/A

Export CSV Report

Premium

Premium

Track Water

Premium

Free

Exercise Tracking

N/A

Free

Recipe Import

Coming soon

Premium

Follow other users

Free

Free

Premium Price Comparison

MacrosFirst

Monthly: $11.99

Yearly: $79.99

​MyFitnessPal

Monthly: $19.99

Yearly: $79.99


I hope you found this comparison helpful. If you're thinking about making the switch from MyFitnessPal to MacrosFirst, remember, it's free! There's no commitment to try. Thank you so much for your consideration, and we hope to become a vital part of your fitness and wellness journey from here on out.


Happy tracking!

-Jacob


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