When it comes to tracking your food, a lot of people hold strong opinions about which app is best. Today, we are going to look at Chronometer and how it stacks up against the ultra-popular MyFitnessPal.
So for starters, it's important to define the purpose of using a tracking app. There can be many reasons, a few of which may include: trying to lose weight, trying to gain muscle, trying to identify foods you eat that give you inflammation, and even trying to determine how your micronutrients are stacking up. But fundamentally, a tracking app is just a digitized version of the old paper and pen log to determine what you are eating and how much of it.
Brief Background of Chronometer
Chronometer is by no means a new tracking app. As a matter of fact, it's been around since 2005 when Aaron Davidson decided to create it - the same year that MyFitnessPal was launched. Chronometer claims it is:
"the most accurate, comprehensive nutrition tracking app on earth. Unlike other apps on the market, our nutritional data is curated from verified, accurate sources. We aim to provide a complete solution – no matter what diet you choose to be on."
Signing up for Chronometer is much like MyFitnessPal. It's going to ask you some basic questions like your age, weight, and goals. One unique thing about Chronometer is it gives you the option for female + pregnant and female + nursing. This is an awesome added benefit for those who are having newborn babies!
It's worth noting that when we created a test account in May of 2022, the app didn't ask for things like activity level when signing up. Instead, we had to go into the settings to change this (more on this later..)
User Experience / Tracking a Meal
Similar to MyFitnessPal, there are a couple of ways to track a meal:
- Search the database
- Create a new meal or recipe
- Scan a barcode
Both apps have convenience tabs like "Favorites" and "Frequently Eaten" for quick tracking after the initial input. Neither free version of the app allows the option to "quick track" macronutrients - this feature lies behind a paywall. Chronometer's process to track a new meal or recipe is a bit clunky, but not materially worse than MyFitnessPal.
Pros & Cons of Chronometer
We spent some time playing around with the app and found some things we loved about the app and some things we wish were done differently. Here's a recap:
- User interface is relatively easy to use
- Can include exercise trackers into your nutrition plan
- LOTS of customization in settings for free
- Easy to change goals on the fly (rate of weight loss)
- Good trends analytics
- Can add notes
- Great Youtube guides
- App automatically sets activity level to sedentary. You have to go into settings to change this and it can drastically change your nutrition.
- App automatically tracks "net carbs" which we had to turn off in the settings
- Setting macro ratios in the nutrition goals is a bit confusing
- No "quick add" macronutrients
What Does Gold Membership Entail?
Just like MyFitnessPal, both apps are free to use but require a subscription to unlock features. Chronometer is $8.99 a month for their "Gold Package". Here's what it includes that isn't in the free version:
- No ads
- Recipe importer
- Group your meals (I.E. breakfast, lunch)
- Different targets by day
- Fasting timer
- More insights
- Food suggestions
- Share custom foods
The Conclusion: Which is Better?
After having spent some time with both apps, they are both very similar. Neither app has outstanding qualities that the other does not have. Chronometer may have a bit more accurate food database, but it is also significantly smaller than MyFitnessPal. We like the ease of tracking with MyFitnessPal slightly better than Chronometer, but they are both good. Chronometer holds an edge over MyFitnessPal when it comes to customizing settings and how your nutrition is calculated.
With all that in mind, we call it a TIE. Both apps are free and GREAT tools for helping you reach your goal. If you are a long-time MyFitnessPal user, there isn't anything overly compelling to make the switch. But if you don't like MyFitnessPal or are new to tracking, we definitely recommend giving both apps a try and determining which is easiest for you!