Food Diary Review: MyFoodDiary.com

I’ve been a member of My Food Diary for quite awhile and have found it to be a valuable service. However, having said that, I don’t think it’s necessary to remain a member for a long time to benefit from the tremendous value this site provides.

MyFoodDiary.com

The name of the site says it all. The primary service is a user-friendly system for maintaining a detailed and accurate food diary. You are provided with all the tools you might need to keep track of the calories you consume and the calories burned each day. In addition, there is a personal notes section to journal your thoughts and feelings with respect to your weight management challenges. UPDATE 2013: I’m not sure if the personal notes feature still exists.

Why Pay to Join?

You might wonder why you should bother with a paid service when you can keep track of this same information on your own or with a free service online.

Here’s why. Like the free food diary services, this site is particularly well designed for the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crowd whether you are completely on your own or following a specific diet plan. The quality of the service you receive however far outperforms what you might have on a free food diary site. And the calculators and tracking tools make the task of recording what you eat much easier than doing it on your own.

When you are just starting with a DIY weight loss diet, the more information you have about your current habits, the more likely you will succeed in making the necessary changes. If I remember correctly, the well-known T.V. personality, Dr. Phil likes to say, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”

Keeping a food diary, an ACCURATE food diary that includes a way to track your physical activity and calories burned as well as what you have eaten, is one of the most important things you can do for success. Spend the first week or two tracking your normal diet and physical activity. I guarantee you will be amazed at what you can learn, what you don’t know about your current habits.

From gaining a better understanding of exactly how much you are eating, to complete surprise at learning the actual number of calories in some of your favorite foods, to having an accurate concept of how many calories you burn each day, you will learn specifically what has to change. This is priceless. Successful dieters work with the facts. They don’t guess and then wonder why the weight isn’t coming off.

Does it take time to keep the food diary? Yes! Is it tedious at times? Yes. But it’s absolutely worth it. After the first day or two it becomes much easier. Most of us are creatures of habit. We tend to eat the same foods more often than we might think.

What Makes My Food Diary Special?

O.K. I hope I’ve at least gotten you to consider the importance of keeping a food diary. Now let me share the many reasons why MyFoodDiary might be the place for you and why it is such a great value at only $9.00 for one month.

First of all the food database at this site is BIG with 45,000 food items. 80,000+ food items in 2013. I can find just about any grocery store item (in the United States) I might want. However, if a food item is not in the database, I can easily add the information. This goes for recipes as well as products. And something I absolutely love is the Fridge.

After a week or so of tracking, it becomes much easier to record the foods you eat daily or fairly often because your Fridge will get filled up with your regular food choices. My Food Diary keeps your food data stored in the Fridge for easy access for as long as you remain a member.

In addition to the food database there is a detailed database for determining calories burned with more than 600 different activities. You won’t likely find a free or paid database better than this. All of the information you record about your diet and activity can then be turned into detailed reports about your calorie intake and energy burned with just a few mouse clicks. This beats tallying things up by hand.

The reports include detailed information about your nutrient intake as well as calories! This feature alone is worth the price of membership! I may be a nutritionist but I am not a walking computer and I have moments when the food or exercise choices I’ve made turn out to not be as good as I might have liked. This helps me to make adjustments and will help you too. When the choices I’ve made are good, I get smiley faces on the reports. Love this! Who doesn’t appreciate getting a few pats on the back?

Now having said all of the positive things about MyFoodDiary there is something I don’t like. It’s pretty minor but as a Nutritionist it bugs me. When looking at a calorie and nutrition report for a given day I don’t particularly like it when there is a big red mark by one of the nutrient totals.

For example, if my recommended intake for sodium is off by just 10 mg the total for the day will be RED. Really? I think there ought to be another color less glaring when it is just slightly off. After all, the recommendations are never precise for individuals. They are designed to be averages for the general population. O.K. maybe I’m sensitive as a Nutritionist but there you have it.

More

I’d like to wrap up this blog post but before I do I need to at least mention some of the many other features you will find on MyFoodDiary.com. Most of these other features are not unique and are available elsewhere but they do serve to round out the membership benefits. You’ll find plenty of weight management calculators, sample meal plans, lots of great tips, and many weight management articles. Probably the best value-added feature is the forum. This forum is very active with many different topics!

If you like the DIY approach to weight loss, My Food Diaryis something you won’t want to be without. Go now and give it a try. It’s never too soon or too late to get started!

Lori

  • Karen L May 24, 2012, 4:58 am

    Thanks for this review! I’ve been using Spark People but am very frustrated with the head dietician there who refuses to allow the food tracker to calculate total grams of sugar in each meal/day. She thinks we’ll avoid “healthy foods” if they have a gram of sugar in them. I’ve talked till I’m blue in the face, so I’m looking for a site that doesn’t withhold nutritional info from users. I lowered my cholesterol considerably by avoiding sugar and I want an easy way to TRACK IT! After all, no one ever said, “I think you need a little more SUGAR in your diet”, did they?

    • Lori May 24, 2012, 8:35 am

      Hi Karen,

      I hear you on the sugar issue! Avoiding added sugars especially is huge! Yes, reducing sugar in the diet can bring down cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar levels, help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, etc. It matters so much more than most people realize. However, I do think many people change their view point as they age and the health problems begin to surface.

      Now that I am in my late fifties, I feel like I am a one person science experiment. I find it fascinating to see how my body responds when I am eating well and exercising as opposed to how quickly things can go wrong when I am not being mindful!

      Lori

  • Crystal December 28, 2010, 10:51 am

    Thanks for the in-depth review. I have been using Livestrong’s MyPlate for quite some time and find it to be extremely useful. The iPhone app that sync’s with the website is also handy so I have no excuse for not tracking my food, even when not at my computer.

    • Lori December 29, 2010, 12:06 pm

      Hi Crystal,

      Glad you’ve found something that works for you. I see that My Food Diary has updated their services quite a bit since I first wrote this review. I see that they also offer an app to use with smart phones. Yeah! I’m happy because I hope to have a smart phone soon!

  • Richard December 27, 2010, 12:33 am

    I thought weight loss is easy when I hit the gym. I started losing weight well but everytime I sop it keeps coming back. I don’t know what to do. Do you know any tablet that helps reduce weight without exercise? Am I asking too much here? What the hell are all pharmacy companies doing?

    • Lori December 29, 2010, 12:01 pm

      Weight loss is not easy. The pharmaceutical companies have not come up with a diet solution in a pill because the challenge of finding something that works without harming a person’s health is extraordinarily difficult.

      I DO NOT recommend ANY kind of diet pill. You may want to read my article Are Weight Loss Supplements Worth the Risk? It’s a little dated but still relevant.

      My absolute best recommendation for you is to learn your calorie needs and your weight loss range. (See: How Many Calories Per Day Do I Need) Once you have determined your calorie needs then keep track of exactly what you eat. If you can do that for a week or two you will have a very good idea of what you need to do to lose weight.

      I wish you the very best!

  • CYNTHIA JOSEPH October 20, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I LOVE MFD!!!! NOT ONLY CAN YOU TRACK YOUR FOOD, IT TELLS YOU HOW LONG YOU HAVE UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR GOAL WEIGHT…….ALONG W THE ACTIVITY THAT WAS DONE DURING THE DAY..IF YOU ATE TOO MUCH SODIUM, TOO LITTLE CALORIES ETC! ITS BETTER THAN WW, SPARKS, ETC…TRY IT!!!!!

    • Lori October 20, 2010, 4:54 pm

      Thank you for sharing this Cynthia! I don’t have personal experience with WW. Have tried Sparks but I like My Food Diary much better. It’s been an enormous help to me. Glad to know you like it as well!

  • Lori April 24, 2010, 10:27 am

    Kudos to YOU Amanda for keeping track of your food intake and progress with a notebook! That may be all you need. What’s most important is gaining an awareness of your food habits and then doing your best to make the small incremental changes necessary to reach your goal weight and successfully maintain. Good luck!

    Lori

  • Amanda April 23, 2010, 12:50 pm

    I don’t use an online food tracker…I write it in a notebook, daily, which is kinda’ neat, because I see it when I was in the kitchen! Maybe it is what’s keeping me going.

    I went to a government site, like myfoodpyramid.com to do it, and it was such a hassel, because a lot of the things I eat aren’t even listed, and you have to choose serving size and it doesn’t recognize what you are talking about if you say you ate a turkey sandwich. IT brings up broiled turkey, baked turkey, etc. So each leaf of lettuce you put on it has to be calculated and entered seperatly! VERY tedious! So I decided online food tracking isn’t for me!

    But Kudos to you girls for having patience. :)

  • Lori February 21, 2010, 4:41 pm

    Melinda and Margaret thanks for your comments. I see that I could add some updates to my review. My Food Diary has gotten even better!

    I am familiar with the Livestrong site but I don’t have any experience with it. I guess I have been spoiled with using MyFoodDiary because it works so well for my needs. I have to have a service that is fast and dependable. And I certainly have a lot of information stored in their databases!

    Lori

  • Margaret February 21, 2010, 12:54 pm

    Thank you for the review. I have been using spark people and am finding it to be very very slow. You can only add one food at a time and you have to wait a few seconds to load each time. Can copy meals to other days which helps somewhat. I tend to eat similar foods each day and would really like the ability to just copy and paste more quickly. There are loads of adverts which keep popping up and you have to scroll down each time to your food selection area. So, despite them having an excellent food database etc, the time aspect is a problem for me. More than happy to pay but wary of a site that requires your credit card details before you even start your 7 day free trial. Has anyone tried the Livestrong site?

  • Melinda February 10, 2010, 8:06 am

    Thank you so much for this review of MyFoodDiary. I have used SparkPeople and MyFitnessPal but hadn’t yet heard of this one.