Shopwell (Android, iOS; Free)
Shopwell users first create a profile and select from a list of nutritional goals (heart disease, athletic training, etc) and enter their dietary restrictions (food allergies, food preferences, Celiac disease, etc). The app takes these selections into account. Users then scan barcodes, and the app scores how well the food items match within their nutritional goals and dietary restrictions. Interpretation of ingredients and healthy suggestions are also provided. There is no intake or exercise tracker, however.
MyFitnessPal (Android, iOS; Free)
One of the most popular health trackers, MyFitnessPal allows users to set weight goals, look up and track food intake, and enter physical activities. There is a barcode scanner for easy input, and there is also a recipe calculator to enter custom dishes.
DietBet (Android, iOS; Free)
Weight loss is more successful with a support system and with a monetary incentive. DietBet gathers users with weight loss as a common goal and provides challenges where users bet they will lose either 4% of their weight in four weeks or 10% of their weight in six months. The caveat? Users put in $25 per bet and those that reach their goal split the pot at the end of the challenge.
Lifesum (Android, iOS; Free)
Lifesum focuses on small changes to people’s habits to create a healthier lifestyle. Users choose a lifestyle goal: be healthier, lose weight, or gain weight. They can then enter their daily food intake, water intake, and physical activity. The app also sends reminders to help them stay on track. Unlike most other apps, Lifesum is heavy on the aesthetics.
In the study that analyzed 28,905 apps specific to weight management, only 17 apps (0.05%) were developed with identifiable professional input, such as dietitians or nutritionist. It is important to recognize that apps should be used as a tool, not as a substitute for a professional medical advice.
Nikolaou CK, Lean ME. Mobile applications for obesity and weight management: current market characteristics. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Nov 22.
Schoeppe S, Alley S, Lippevelde WV, et al. Efficacy of interventions that use apps to improve diet, physical activity and sedentary behavior: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016;13(1):127.