MacroFactor - The Best Calorie Counter App

Save yourself time and energy with the right app, backed by research. This is a MacroFactor review with a couple other recs. If macro trackers and calorie counting aren't for you - skip this article.

MacroFactor Diagonal Phones

Note: You can use the code "simple" when you sign up for a free trial.

Most macro trackers shame you when you "go over" your target calories. When you find a tool that doesn't wave obnoxious red flags and dramatically simplifies decision-making, there are two natural responses:

  1. “This is informative. Why hasn't anyone told me about this before?”
  2. “Well, crap. I wish I hadn't sunk all that time into the last app.”

That’s exactly how I felt when I became a beta tester for MacroFactor in September 2021. The app's design has changed quite a bit but its core philosophy has never shifted;

"Adherence-neutral calorie and macro adjustments. You’re completely in control of every step of the process. You set a goal, and we tell you how to get there, but it’s totally fine if you don’t follow our advice." - Greg Nuckols

I think most former athletes can identify with the struggles I've had transitioning my relationship with food into retirement. MF has helped me gain a sense of what I truly need in a given day without judging me for occasionally slipping up in my adherence.

I'm sharing an app that I love but, I do coach for Stronger by Science. This probably reads like a sales pitch but you should use it anyway. The only way I'll get a kickback is if you use the code "simple" when you sign up.

Codes don't change the price of MF, just helps me pay the bills.

My criteria for the best calorie counter app are
:

  • An easy-to-use user interface (UI).
  • Less is more - most apps add poor features that hurt functionality.
  • An understanding and empathy for the core user.
  • A balance of ease and use - adjusting to serve the core user's emerging needs.
  • A well-maintained database - that accurately recognizes common foods and accommodates dietary restrictions
  • Offline functionality (a plus when possible)
  • A free or limited trial (to see if it's a good fit)
  • Personalization - If you enter the same foods often, it should be quick.

I did my best to avoid slanting this article to paint other apps in a negative light. I have personally used these and would recommend all but one to a friend.

Note: app functionality is ever-changing so this review will always be out of date. I hesitated to include past experiences, but at least it provides you with a loose expectation.

What does tracking macros mean?

Before we get into a review, one quick aside:

Tracking macros means counting calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Protein, carbs, and fat are the energy-containing nutrients that are considered essential.

Alcohol is special - it is not digested the same way or considered essential.

Nutrition is a complex science that studies behavior, food, and how the human body processes it. Not only is nutrition about what we eat, it considers why we eat what we do.

If you have more intense nutritional needs, contact a Registered Dietitian.

I can personally vouch for these options, both as great people and as qualified professionals who have your best interest in mind:

My MacroFactor Review:

MacroFactor has the best functionality of any app I've ever used.

Not only does it help you get a handle on how many calories you burn, but it also sets guardrails backed by science.

As you eat and log your meals, MF will dynamically model the number of calories you burn in a day.

MF has a growing food database and adjustable recipe creation tool.

If you go over your goals, it doesn't care. Some apps turn calorie counting bars red when that happens which is upsetting.

I'm pretty lazy. MF has a lot of advanced user edits available if you want to get into it but out of the box, it works very well.

You can enter foods by search, barcode, and even use a clever voice input feature called "AI describe". I don't use it often but it's pretty accurate.

MF can cache foods that you've entered before. That's come in handy for me when attempting to log snacks I packed before a hike.

Happy Scale is a super simple weight trend tracking app that I've used to get an idea of the direction that my weight was going. If you can think back to all the times you've weighed yourself, it can be super surprising to learn how much you fluctuate daily. MF did a great job of infusing that same concept into the modeling of weight trends in the app. I wish all apps would adopt this feature.

Is MacroFactor worth it? Other Reviews.

As of this writing, MacroFactor has 431 ratings with an overall score of 4.7 out of 5 on the apple store.

One of the most critical reviews;

"Big fan of Jeff and Greg but the UI of this app is overly complicated to use in my opinion. The process of logging and visualizing meals is cumbersome and I feel there is a bit of data overload. Logging a meal from the home screen and being able to see meals each day should be simpler." "burfeckt" on the apple app store 10/23/21.

One of the most favorable reviews from "RoseT314" on 3/28/22:

"I have been a longtime user of MFP until using MacroFactor. I had gotten so used to MFP that I didn't realize how antiquated and inadequate it was until switching. I also really appreciate the monthly digests that MacroFactor emails to its users with helpful tips and updates on current and future app developments. Make the switch and you'll never look back".

Based on what you're looking for, this app is worth it. If you're interested in learning more about the science behind nutrition and want to pay more attention to what you eat, this is a super solid choice.

If you want to learn more about micronutrients, some of that data varies by food source. I've heard that Cronometer is better at that.


Is the MacroFactor app free?

MacroFactor is a paid app. MF does offer a free trial period to see if the app is right for you.

If you would like a free app, I think these two apps are good options:

You could try to use MyFitnessPal if you accept it for its flaws. It's been around for over 17 years so many people find some value in it. I picked Livestrong over MFP when I compared the two because the UI was simpler.

How much is MacroFactor?

MacroFactor has varying subscription prices that vary based on plan length:

  • Month to month - $11.99 per month
  • Yearly - $5.99 per month, for 12 months, paid upfront at $71.99
  • Every 6 months - $7.99 per month, paid upfront at $47.99

I would recommend that you start with a free trial and set a reminder to re-evaluate a day or two before it runs out.

We don't talk more about Nutrition outside of the basics at Simple Solutions Fitness but we're happy to recommend Macrofactor. Use the code "simple" when you sign up for an extended free trial.

We're not the only ones, for a breakdown of the best paid and free diet apps, read this article on Lifehacker.com

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Steven Mack is founder and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the private training studio, Simple Solutions Fitness. He consults for Stronger by Science, a leader in fitness research dissemination, and is a former Mizzou football walk-on. Steven dedicates his professional life to helping people through his writing, speaking, and role as a personal trainer.