As more as the internet use has boosted up, our lives are improving constantly. An example of this is calorie tracking apps that provide us with an easy way to count our daily calorie and macronutrient intakes. After having the knowledge of best strategy to track the Carb Intake, there is need to know the calorie counting tools.
These calorie counting tools are the easiest and quickest way to see almost exactly what you are putting into your body on a daily basis. But, at first, counting your calories, carbs, fats, and proteins can be a huge hassle, especially when you’re transitioning into a ketogenic diet.
This is why I put together this article to make it easier for you to track your carbs and calories on the keto diet or even any other diet as well. By following the suggestions below, you will be able to reap the many benefits to knowing exactly what is going in your body and how much of each macronutrient you need to eat to reach your goals.
If you ask the Keto for Beginners Community “how do you track your carbs on keto?” You’ll be flooded with a chorus of MFPs (MyFitnessPal) and Cronometers. Although there are other apps that are useful for carb and calorie tracking, the most popular tend to be these two.
In this article, we will be taking a look at MyFitnessPal (mainly) and its configuration in order to know that how to use each one to track carbs on the ketogenic diet.
But first, there is need to explain the differences between the apps of MyFitnessPal and Cronometer?
Pros and Cons of MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie tracking apps, and it’s free (unless you want extra features that are helpful for keto dieters). The app prioritizes social networking and progress sharing with friends, which sets it apart from other apps.
With a massive food database, you can find almost any food you desire on MyFitnessPal. However, the main reason for their massive database is that anyone who uses the app can submit anything they want. This makes it difficult to know which food item in the database you should choose.
The free MyFitnessPal app also doesn’t know how to track net carbs, only total carbohydrates and fiber. This makes it a bit more tedious for keto dieters to use because they have to make their own net carb calculations.
Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of MyFitnessPal:
- Social sharing
- Weight loss/gain progress graph
- Huge food database
- Great for tracking packaged foods with barcodes
- Option to add recipes directly from your favorite keto recipe websites
- Inaccurate food database
- Can’t track net carbs on the free app
- Can only use macronutrient percentages (not specific gram targets)
- Advertisements throughout the app
Pros and Cons of Cronometer
By comparison, there’s Cron-O-Meter (hereafter referred to as Cronometer), which is a $2.99 app. The biggest differences between Cronometer and MyFitnessPal are the food database and social media aspects of the apps.
Cronometer’s food database is curated — it only has validated, correct entries with a lot more detailed information (like micronutrients and amino acids). The app also lacks a social sharing side to it unless you buy the gold subscription.
However, there is one thing that sets Cronometer apart MyFitnessPal for ketoers — a ketogenic diet mode that tracks net carbs (more on this later).
Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of Cronometer:
- Ketogenic diet mode with net carb tracker=
- More precise and accurate food database
- Can change macronutrient and micronutrient goals by grams and percentages
- No ads
- Limited food database
- Costs $2.99
- No weight loss/gain progress graph
Is Cronometer or MyFitnessPal Better?
Both apps will give you everything you need to track calories and carbs on keto. The fact that MyFitnessPal doesn’t track net carbs and tends to be less accurate gives Cronometer a slight edge.
Does its increased accuracy and ketogenic diet mode make Cronometer worth the extra $2.99? That’s up to you to decide.
However, there is one thing that we can decide for you. Whether you choose MyFitnessPal or Cronometer (or any other calorie tracking app), make sure you use it. By tracking your carbs every day, you can almost guarantee great results.
Why Track Your Carbs?
You might be asking me, “What’s the point of using a calorie counter?” Well, there are numerous reasons to, including:
- Portion Control: As you increasingly read nutrition labels, you’ll realize that serving sizes are tiny. Manufacturers do that on purpose to get their counts low, and to get more people to buy. This app can help you follow proper portion control, resulting in proper diet control.
- Ninja Carbs: Some labels show that their products have 0 carbs, but you’d be surprised at how many things actually have carbs in them. Remember, 1g of carbs can really add up over a day’s worth of eating! Splenda used to be one of my favorite things to use because it had no carbs in it, but it actually has quite a few carbs if you are using it a lot.
- Delusional Beliefs: Oh come on, we all do it. You might drink a glass of milk and call it a cup – most of the time we don’t measure our foods out and that can be a big problem.
- These are the main reasons why some keto dieters don’t get the results they are expecting. Luckily, as
- long as you use a calorie tracker like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer, you won’t have to worry about any
- of these issues getting in your way.
Example To Configure MyFitnessPal
Signing up for MyFitnessPal is simple. You can use Facebook or your email, and it will ask you for your goals, height, weight, activity level, etc. Feel free to change to units to whatever you prefer to use from here on out.
Setting Your Macronutrient Ratios and Calorie Goals with MyFitnessPal
There are two ways (that I know of) to change your daily macronutrient and calorie goals using MyFitnessPal. Let’s stick with the easiest, more intuitive way:
Tap on “More”, then tap “Goals”.
Here you can adjust your weight, activity levels, and weight loss/gain goals. Most importantly, this is where you can change your calorie and macronutrient goals. Tap “Calorie & Macronutrient Goals”.
From here, you can tap on one of the macronutrients (carbs, fats, or protein) to change your carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake goals.
Use your finger to adjust the percentages until they look something like this:
Note: the app will not let you save your new macronutrient goals if they don’t add up to 100%.
Click the arrow on the top left of the screen to go back to the Goals screen.
If you would like to set additional nutrient goals and/or fitness goals, then scroll down and tap on the relevant option to adjust it. (Unfortunately, there is no option for “net carbs”, so you will have to calculate that on your own — there will be more on how to do that later in this article.)
Now that you have set your goals, you are ready to track your food consumption.
How To Track Meals Using MyFitnessPal
Click the back button until you are in the “More” menu. See the big “+” at the bottom? This is one of the many methods you can use to enter what you just ate.
Tap the “+” and choose the red “food” button. Select whatever meal you are about to add in.
Now, you’ll be at a screen where you have many options. You can search for the food by tapping the search bar, you can tap the location logo next to the search bar to find a restaurant that you ate at, or you can click the barcode icon to scan the barcode of the food package. Most of the time, however, you will be using the search option.
For example, let’s plug in the eggs that I had for breakfast. To do this, we must search for the food item (or scan the barcode of the egg carton by tapping the barcode icon).
Look at all the options you get when you search “eggs”. Which one should you choose?
A useful tip to use when you are overwhelmed by options is to choose the item that matches the description of what you ate and has a green check mark next to it. According to MyFitnessPal, the green check mark means that the food has complete nutrition information and accurately reflects the nutrition information from the product packaging.
For this reason, I stick to using the foods that have a green check next to them and/or scan the barcode from the food packaging. This allows me to be as accurate with my calorie tracking as possible.
Anyway, let’s get back to tracking breakfast. Let’s tap on “eggs” with the green check mark next to it.
Here you can change the serving size and number of servings to accurately reflect what you ate just by tapping the appropriate row. Since I had 4 large eggs, I am going to leave the serving size as is and change the number of servings to 4.
This tells MyFitnessPal that I ate 4 large eggs, and it will accurately reflect this when I click the white check mark at the top right of the screen.
How To Find Net Carbs For Each Food Entry on MyFitnessPal
Before we leave this screen, let’s see what other information it has. By scrolling down, we can access all the nutrition info available on that food item. We can also use this information to calculate the net carbs of that item to make sure it fits into our daily net carb limit.
To do this, subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of carbs. For example, the four eggs I ate had 1.4 total grams of carbs and 0 grams of fiber. The net carbs = 1.4 – 0 = 1.4 grams.
This is such a small amount for four eggs! This is why eggs are a staple of the keto diet.
How To Find Your Daily Net Carb Intake Using MyFitnessPal
After a full day of keto-friendly eating and calorie tracking, you have all the info you need to calculate your net carb intake.
First, make sure you are in your food dairy by tapping the “Diary” icon to the left of the “+” sign. Tap on the banner at the top that has your daily calories remaining.
You’ll be taken to a screen that provides you with your daily nutrient breakdown. Here you will find all the relevant information that you need to ensure you are following the ketogenic diet correctly.
To calculate your net carb intake for the day, take your total fiber number and subtract it from your total grams of carbohydrates.
For example, after a sample day of beginner keto eating, I consumed 33 grams of carbs and 13 grams of fiber. 33 – 13 = 20 net carbs — not bad!
How To Make Meal Tracking Easier with MyFitnessPal
After a couple of days using MyFitnessPal, you’ll notice that it is a pretty tedious task to plug in every single ingredient that you eat. If you are like me and have a couple of staple keto recipes that you always go back to, then you can make calorie tracking process easier by creating recipes.
Simply tap “Create a Recipe” after you get to one of these two screens (testing what you learned a little bit):
You can either enter the ingredients manually or add them from a website.
To insert my favorite recipe from any website , for example http://dietplus4u.com/category/low-carb-diet-keto-diet , I enter the website on the app and search through the website to find what I am looking for.
When you tap “Import Recipe,” the app will find the ingredients and write them down for you.
Click the white arrow on the top right for the app to match the ingredients. If you find any ingredient that is inaccurate, then you can choose an alternative. Plus, you can add or delete any ingredient by choosing the options at the bottom of the screen.
Once everything looks good, click the right white arrow.
At the next screen, you have to scroll down all the way to see all the options. Here you can make sure the name, servings, and calorie breakdowns are accurate before you save it.
Once it is saved, you can log it at any time you’d like. All you have to do is click on the “Recipes” tab (found under the barcode logo on the food item adding page), click on the keto-friendly recipe, and log the number of servings that you ate.
No matter what calorie counting app you choose, I hope you now know how to utilize these calorie tracking tools to make the most out of your efforts on a keto diet.
MyFitnessPal will give you the functionality that you need to track your calories successfully and get the most out of your ketogenic diet. The calorie tracking app that you choose is up to you and your personal preference.