Counting calories will get harder with MyFitnessPal

Popular nutrition and weight loss app MyFitnessPal is moving its free barcode scanning feature behind the paywall. For years, users with free accounts have been able to use this tool to scan food barcodes to make it easier to record and track daily calorie intake, but the company recently announced that from the 1st October, a premium account will be required.

MyFitnessPal’s daily calorie count is a key feature of the app, with the barcode scanner providing a shortcut to finding the nutritional value of a specific food in the app’s extensive food database. Much of this database is user-generated, with free and premium users able to add any food by entering the nutritional information and barcode on a label. Once October 1 rolls around, free users will still be able to search the database for their food entries, but the barcode scanner will cost $19.99 per month or $79.99 for an annual plan, plus other premium features. And all new users who create a free account on or after September 1 will not be able to scan barcodes even earlier unless they pay.

The abrupt move comes after MyFitnessPal redesigned its app in May, which put more useful information on the home screen for premium users while adding more scrolling through ads and pop-ups for free users. . While the loss of the handy barcode scanning feature comes as a bit of a shock to long-time MyFitnessPal users, it’s perhaps not too surprising that the app sacrifices user experience to maximize the return on investment after it was sold by Under Armor in 2020 to venture capital firm Francisco Partners.

Free features behind a paywall in the tech world are of course not a new concept – they’re even quite common in the fitness category of tech, like when Fitbit moved its sleep data information to its service. premium or when the Oura Ring went from a premium hardware product with free software to just plain premium, and users were irritated. Businesses may feel pressure to increase their profits by monetizing popular features, but it hits hard when they do so for features that have life-changing benefits.

As a personal MyFitnessPal user with a logging streak of 2,632 consecutive days, I have used the app to change my habits, lose weight, and get in better shape, like many others. As a free user, I knew the trade-offs and resisted the ads and onslaught of pop-ups telling me to upgrade to premium because I love recording and tracking my weight every morning. This user-built food and nutritional value database is such a valuable tool whenever I choose to be stricter and log every bit of my daily intake.

My personal streak in MyFitnessPal dates back to 2015.

By losing the barcode scanner, MyFitnessPal does a gross disservice to its users. Losing weight and being aware of what you eat is hard enough. I’m embarrassed enough to manually search the app for the nutritional value of half a whole Costco pizza after letting myself make bad decisions, thus adding more friction to the process when someone just wants to record their cup of greek yogurt looks fake. And anyone who’s made major changes to their eating habits knows that it’s a delicate balancing act to keep the weight off, and anything that bothers you, even slightly, can tip the scales towards undoing weeks. of hard work in a single day.

MyFitnessPal obviously seeks to maximize profits, but if the popular r/loseit subreddit is any indication, many users may consider switching to competing apps like Cronometer, Loseit, or Macros during this loss. MyFitnessPal will likely continue to add premium features like recipes, nutrition plans, and everything else its app is bloated with. The reality may be that most people just want the simplest tool possible for logging their calories and weight, and MyFitnessPal takes a capital L here. Maybe it’s time to let my streak end.

#Counting #calories #harder #MyFitnessPal

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