Right now tracking your “macros” is all of the rage, and for good reason: It works. It’s never been easier to find out roughly how much you should be eating, as well as how much you actually are eating. With smart phones and the internet, it’s easier than ever to find out what’s in your food, and keep track of it. Right now the biggest player in the food journal space is MyFitnessPal. Owned by Under Armour, MyFitnessPal is probably the most popular food tracker on the market. But MFP is not without its flaws, and competitors are popping up all the time.

One of those up and coming services for food tracking is Avatar Nutrition. While MyFitnessPal functions first and foremost a way to log your food, Avatar’s primary focus is using an automated system to make sure your macros are correct. In other words their primary service isn’t necessarily a tracking feature, but telling you specifically how much to eat. Yet both Avatar and MFP provide quantity recommendations and a tracking option, which naturally leads to a comparison and the question: Which one is better?

MyFitnessPal

  • Pros
    • Has a free version
    • Has a huge database
    • Can easily enter and save your own foods, recipes, meals, etc.. and share them with other people
    • The barcode scanner is amazing and works really well
    • Premium version is relatively affordable at $9.99/month or $50/year
    • You can custom set your own calories and/or macros
    • Has a social component
    • Has customizable meal names for your diary
  • Cons
    • The calorie/macro recommendations usually aren’t good
    • The interface is too calorie focused rather than macros specifically
    • The food data base usually has dozens of incorrect entries because it’s user generated
    • Encourages people to track their exercise and then changes daily macros based on that
    • Ugly UI

Avatar Nutrition

  • Pros
    • Latest science is integrated into the system to calculate your macros
    • Makes macro adjustments automatically based on your body weight, body fat, and adherence to your diet
    • Automatically converts grams to ounces and vice versa for diary entries
    • Has helpful Facebook community to ask questions
    • Owners/Founders and their staff are readily available and do frequent Q&A sessions
    • Has carb/fat slider, so you can trade macros and don’t have to manually do the math.
    • Has “moving targets” feature that will automatically adjust your following days macros to keep you compliant for the week
    • Typically accurate database
  • Cons
    • Doesn’t have an app, only a mobile site.
    • Barcode scanner is terrible and is very hit or miss
    • A bit more expensive at $19.99/month or $99 for the year
    • Cannot use just as a tracker
    • no free version

Which One is Better?

As you can see from the lists above, each service/app has its strengths and weaknesses. If you aren’t comfortable calculating your own macros and/or don’t have a nutrition coach, Avatar is a no brainer. The few slight issues I have with their tech pale in comparison to the fact that they get the science right, and they have some powerful tools to help keep you compliant. If you feel very confident in the macros you’re tracking and really just need something to keep track of what you eat, MyFitnessPal may be the better option, although the free version is not recommended for those taking their nutrition seriously.

Just remember, when you head over to Google and search for “Gyms near me”or “gyms in Concord NH” and you find a place you like to train, you’re going to be leaving results on the table if you don’t have a nutrition plan. Currently macro tracking is the most scientifically proven method, so whether you choose MyFitnessPal, Avatar Nutrition, or some other tracking app, make sure macro tracking is part of your strategy.