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Research suggests that tracking calories and activity supports weight loss. These apps can help keep you on target to reach your goals, according to dietitians and users.
If you’re trying to lose weight or achieve another nutrition or fitness goal, a weight loss app may help. Research finds that consistently tracking calories and exercise is an effective strategy for weight management.
These programs download directly to your phone, offering a quick and easy way to log meals, workouts, and more. And many of these apps also come with supportive features, like prompts, forums, and the ability to sync with other health or fitness devices, to help keep you motivated.
Here are the 7 best weight loss apps, according to dietitians and users.
We chose the weight loss apps below based on the following criteria:
- Vetting: All the apps on our list have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards.
- Ratings: We chose apps with mostly positive ratings to find the best weight loss apps for both iPhone and Android users.
- Features: We recognize that weight loss is a highly personalized process. The apps included on our list have a range of features to suit a variety of needs, such as community challenges, food tracking, and personal coaching.
- Weight loss approach: It’s important to have realistic expectations and maintain (or foster) a healthy relationship with food and your body. We chose apps that support realistic weight loss goals and encourage a whole-body approach.
- Expert recommended: All the apps below have been recommended by nutrition experts.
- Cost: We’ve included both free and paid weight loss apps to meet various budgets.
When deciding which weight loss app is right for you, there are a few factors to keep in mind, such as:
- Budget: Many weight loss apps have a free version as well as the option to access premium features for an additional cost. Others require a subscription or a one-time purchase for use.
- Special features: It’s important to consider the features you want an app to have, such as one-on-one coaching, meal planning and recipes, food and activity logs, barcode scanners, or macro counting. Some apps can also sync to a wearable device, such as a fitness watch, to make activity tracking seamless and convenient.
- Weight and wellness goals: Certain apps may be better suited for certain goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight by increasing your activity level, it’s helpful to choose an app that offers recommended workouts and integrates with an activity tracker.
- Your experience level: If you’re new to exercising and healthy eating, you’ll want an app that includes plenty of beginner-level resources or even one-on-one coaching.
While research shows calorie counting is effective for weight loss, it’s important to note that it has also been linked to an increased risk of disordered eating in certain people. Therefore, it may not be appropriate for some people.
The best weight loss app will be different for everyone. For example, if you’re looking for added accountability or community, apps like Noom or WW might be the best options. Alternatively, if you consider yourself pretty independent and you’re just looking to log meals and exercise, Lose It! could be the better choice.
The best free weight loss apps on our list are Fooducate, Lose It!, and Zero. Each offers valuable features in their free versions:
- Fooducate provides a unique food grading system, helping users make healthier choices. It also includes basic food and exercise logging, and community support, making it a comprehensive tool for health-aware individuals.
- Lose It! features a comprehensive food database, barcode scanner, and basic exercise tracking. Its user-friendly interface is excellent for straightforward meal and activity logging, supporting effective weight management.
- Zero offers a customizable fasting timer and tracks fasting history, making it a simple yet effective tool for fasting-based weight loss strategies.
While premium subscriptions offer additional features, these apps not only rank as the best weight loss apps free of charge but also offer comprehensive features for effective weight management.
Losing 20 pounds in a month is a goal that’s often not recommended due to health concerns.
Rapid weight loss can lead to a range of issues including muscle loss, nutritional deficiencies, and can negatively impact your overall health. It’s also unsustainable and can set you up for potential weight regain.
A healthier and more sustainable approach to weight loss involves setting realistic goals, focusing on gradual, steady weight loss – typically 0.5 to 2 pounds per week as recommended by health professionals. This can be achieved through a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and lifestyle changes that promote overall well-being.
Remember, weight loss is a personal journey and what works for one person might not be suitable for another. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional like a dietitian for personalized advice and safe weight management strategies.
Research in 2021 suggests that weight loss apps can be effective for weight loss and may even help improve other health markers like blood sugar and blood pressure.
Still, keep in mind that the research is limited and inconclusive, with some studies showing no benefit at all.
Furthermore, one study notes that the effectiveness of weight loss apps largely depends on the individual’s level of engagement with the app, which appears to be low in many instances.
For example, some factors have been shown to affect users’ level of engagement, such as:
- health literacy
- socioeconomic status
- other disparities
In turn, these factors could make weight loss apps less effective for certain populations.
Finally, keep in mind that while calorie counting can be effective for weight loss, it can also increase the risk of disordered eating in some people.
If you’re looking to lose weight, these apps can help support your diet and weight goals, offering tools in the palm of your hand, such as:
- nutrient tracking
- goal setting
- meal planning
Still, keep in mind that while they have several possible benefits, weight loss apps can be:
Many apps offer a free version or free trial, and we recommend experimenting with a few to see which one, if any, works best for you.