The Top Pros and Cons of Nutrition Apps

The Top Pros and Cons of Nutrition Apps

Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: March 10, 2022

Obesity is a problem. Luckily, it’s preventable. The key to losing weight is by consuming fewer calories than the body burns each day [1]. While this is good to know in principle, there is more to it.

You need to know the type of calories you are consuming too. This is what can make proper nutrition so complex.

If you’ve heard of the many convoluted diets in the marketplace helping people lose weight, you aren’t alone. Following some of these diets can simulate a full-time job. With the amount of work you have to do to track what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and how many calories you are burning, things can get complicated very quickly. This is where nutrition and weight loss apps come into play.

There is seemingly an app for everything. Smartphones have become so ingrained in our lives, it’s no wonder nutrition apps are popping up everywhere.

In 2017, there was a total of 325,000 mobile health apps available on the various major mobile app stores [2]. Using a nutrition app can be advantageous to anyone who is looking to lose weight or stay healthy.

This article will detail some of the pros and cons of using nutrition apps.

Pros of Using Nutrition Apps

1. They Can Help You Eat Healthier

a plate of healthy food

Perhaps most importantly, they can help you improve your diet so you are eating healthier. Using a nutrition app will inherently help you eat a better and more optimized diet. Not only do these apps typically have calorie counters in them, but they can show you how many macro and micronutrients you are getting into your diet.

Without having an app that tracks your food intake, you’re going to find it increasingly difficult to track this manually. These apps will generally make recommendations on what foods you should be looking to get into your diet.

You cannot fool yourself when you are using a nutrition app. You will see the foods you are eating and the app will generally tell you if you are consuming too much of any type of food.

2. Track Your Progress

a man points to his weight loss graph

One of the most important things that you can do when you are looking to improve your diet choices and your weight loss efforts is to track your progress. This is something that you will either need to do manually or in an automated fashion using an app like this.

A nutrition app that can track and monitor your progress is worth using.

Without progression tracking, you are going at things without a measuring stick. Having an app that tracks and monitors your progress is the only way to identify what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. It also shows you what you may need to change to improve. Being able to check your progress at a glance can do wonders for your efforts.

Not only will you have something providing you with additional motivation, but it can also put things into perspective when you aren’t necessarily visualizing any results from your efforts.

3. Teach You Good Habits

One of the main things you’ll need to do when you are trying to lose weight or get healthier is to alter your lifestyle habits.

Many people are unhealthy because they have some sort of lifestyle habit that is holding them back. A nutrition app can work wonders at educating you on some of the things you should be doing to improve your diet and nutrition. These apps tend to have a lot of personalized advice that you can use.

Changing your habits and making lifestyle changes can help you progress much more towards your goal. These apps usually feature real-time notifications if you have been seated for too long or if you’ve reached your caloric threshold for the day.

They will also tell you if you are eating too much salt or sugar. The education you can get from these apps can improve your chances of success.

4. Some Can be Used for Free

You will find a lot of nutrition apps that are completely free to use. You don’t necessarily have to use one that is paid. There are a lot of free apps that are readily available across all of the major mobile stores. Some of them will include premium features that are blocked off to free users.

RELATED READING: Is MyFitnessPal Free?

You can decide whether or not the premium features are worth paying for. Generally, these apps use a subscriber-based model.

5. Recipes

A nutrition app can be a great benefit to anyone who is looking to improve their diet for various reasons. One of the best reasons has to do with the recipes you will find. One of the biggest pain points of anyone who is looking to lose weight is not knowing what to eat. A lot of diets fail because they pigeonhole you into eating a specific type of meal continuously.

RELATED READING: What Can You Eat on Noom?

A lot of people want variety in their diets. Not only is it healthier, but it’s going to keep you much more interested in following the diet. A great thing about a lot of the nutrition apps is that you are going to have plenty of recipes to choose from.

Some of them are user-curated and some of them will be from professional chefs. Regardless, having a nutrition app with a variety of recipes to sort through can save you a lot of time and energy having to do it yourself.

6. Support

Another reason a lot of people fail to achieve their nutrition and fitness goals has to do with a lack of support. Unless you are dieting together with someone else, you are likely going at it alone.

This can be very lonely and it can cause you to stray away from the path at times. The best way to get yourself back on track is by getting the support you need. This is generally why a lot of these nutrition apps have a built-in support feature.

Whether it’s a forum or access to a social media community, you are going to get the support you need. Having people that are in a similar situation that you can talk to can make things a lot easier.

Cons Of Nutrition Apps:

1. Inaccuracy

One of the downsides to using an app for calorie counting is the fact that it’s not always going to be accurate. Whether you mistype something or it tracks incorrectly, it can completely throw off your true macronutrient count.

If you aren’t logging things accurately, you could be hurting yourself more than helping.

However, these same pitfalls are true if you are manually counting them. You have just as much room for user error. However, it needs to be noted.

2. Time-Consuming

Another con associated with using and relying on these apps has to do with the time-consuming nature of logging all of your data. Many people won’t want to spend more than a couple of minutes logging their information.

These apps generally require a good amount of input to track everything. If you feel like it’s too much work, you are likely to quit doing it. It may even turn you away from eating healthy and working out.

If you are someone with limited time and you think it will stop you from wanting to progress, it may be best to leave these apps alone.

3. It Can Get Addicting

a woman bites her nails

One of the other downsides to these types of apps is that they can promote addictive behavior. While there are certainly worse things to be addicted to than nutrition apps, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good thing.

If you have an app on your phone and it’s constantly throwing warnings and notifications at you, it’s likely to cause you to become obsessive about following your nutrition plan and diet. This can be counterproductive to helping you improve your diet and lifestyle.

If you have an addictive personality and you think it’s going to put you in a bad state of mind, you may not want to install and rely on nutrition apps.

Are Nutrition Apps Worth It?

Nutrition apps are worth it if you are getting value out of them. They can make it much easier to track your progress and to know that you are moving in the right direction. A nutrition app can help you in a variety of ways.

Not only can it teach you better habits, but it can improve your knowledge of nutrition, help you figure out what you need to do to improve, and even monitor your progress.

Having an app that sends you notifications reminding you to drink more water and to eat breakfast can be good for building habits. If you are constantly busy, you may find that it keeps you on track.

You should use a nutrition app if…

  • You want something that’s going to help you track and monitor your progress
  • You want something that can provide you with added motivation to succeed
  • You want community support
  • You want a bunch of healthy recipes that support your desired dietary changes

Wondering which Nutrition Apps are best? Weight Watchers and Noom are two of our favorites – see how they compare here.

References:

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6543803/