Review: MyPlate Calorie Tracker

One gentleman recommended MyPlate Calorie Tracker, an app where you log and track your caloric consumption. After several months of consistent use, I’ve gathered enough insight needed to offer my opinion on this app’s efficacy.

DISCLAIMER

While there are other apps with similar functions, MyPlate is the only app I used. This is also not a paid sponsorship post. All opinions are my own.

FUNCTIONS

MyPlate uses an algorithm based on your inputs such as age, sex, height, and weight (among others) to calculate the number of calories you may consume at a given day to meet your goal. The screenshot below breaks down the caloric input by meals, water consumption, activities, and your weight to track your progress.

Among many features not shown here is how updating your weight daily results in adjusted value for your overall calories goal. If I log my weight change in the “Track” tab on a given day, my caloric goals will be re-calculated for the subsequent days. This ensures a more accurate calculation based on your most up-to-date stats.

PROS

Assuming the utmost accuracy in nutritional composition and timely entry of your consumption, this app does bring things into perspective.

1) Calories do count.

People tend to underestimate the amount they eat, which leads to excess fat over an extended period. Although I am fortunate enough to improve my overall numbers despite eating a lot previously, mostly due to my age and daily exercises, imagine a less active individual being mystified by her “sudden” weight gain. In addition to activity level, hydration, quality of diet, and sleep, calories do matter. The sooner one becomes cognizant of their eating habits, the better off one becomes. Although one is expected to witness metabolism reduction and weight gain, I do question if we deteriorate that quickly if we maintain a truly healthy lifestyle.

2) Outcomes: aesthetics and performance.

Bottom line, I noticed more physical changes than I did on the scale. I’ve set the goal of 1.5 lb/week but the number has gone down only 7-10 lb. This is due to the fact that I’ve consumed more than the allotted amount. The numeric value fluctuates based on the time of the day, with water being another added confounding effect.

My waist feels thinner, my clothes feel looser than when I first bought them, and my muscle tones became more obvious. Although my exercises haven’t changed as much in terms of speed, intensity, or duration, a dramatic carb reduction have really helped – only after a few months. I also feel more engaged in things I do at home and work. Imagine keeping this up for years, for the rest of your life!

CONS

Despite the advantages of using this tracker app (or any others), it is not without its limitations.

1) Uncertain accuracy representation. 

One of the uncertainties I confront regarding the algorithm is its criteria for basal metabolic rate. Although I know the maximum allotted consumption is based on superficial factors, I do not know the extent to which the numbers are calculated.

For example, my calorie goal is 1393 based on my activity level, goal, etc. If I had selected a more modest activity goal, that goal would have been at a lower value. The difference suggests that the presupposed expenditure is already taken into account.

Is it based purely on the base metabolism alone, or on the additional, predetermined calories I was supposed to burn off from running or pumping iron? Furthermore, is the basal metabolism based on the fact I sit all day or stand all day? Should someone with “Very Active” activity level who spends five hours a day standing even log that, or should only those with “Sedentary” lifestyle log the equal duration they spent standing?

The answers to these questions would determine if I’m supposed to even log the time spent and calories burnt on a treadmill, much less the time I spent standing idly. We all know one burns more calories standing up than one does sitting down, given a duration. Such aspect of the app’s algorithm undermines the accuracy of caloric expenditure.

2) Limited  input options caloric expenditure.

There are limited options of the actual exercises you can log. I lift weights but could not log squats or deadlifts. Whereas the numbers for treadmill is calculated, I could not even key in the right words for various strength training exercises. Might this be resolved by upgrading to the paid version? Although such is a possibility, I don’t have a desire to know the exact, so long as I am more mindful of the amount I consume.

I suppose it doesn’t matter too much because it is in a way better to slightly overrepresent your caloric consumption than the other way around – kind of like accounting where it’s better to overstate your costs than your revenues. In both cases, you’d be more inclined to do better to reach and improve the bottom line.

IN CONCLUSION

I am satisfied with this app overall, and would recommend people to use it. A little bit of deviance is forgiven, so long as you do not lie to yourself about your goals and your progress. Although some numbers should be interpreted with a grain of salt for context, discipline and honesty will work wonders. This app is what you make of it.

  • Great review! I hadn’t heard of this app before. Do you like it better than myfitnesspal? I know you said you don’t use any others, but have you tried any others in the past?

  • Thanks, Abby! I briefly tried MyFitnessPals years back, but only for a brief moment because my mind wasn’t set on keeping calorie count. This was long time ago when I still lived with my mom, who cooked for me. Now that I live alone and actually cook my own food, I have a measurable quantity of the food I’m putting in my mouth.

    That being said, my experiences with other apps probably would be similar if the functions are same. I take it you’ve tried (or are currently using) MyFitnessPals?