Simplavida Tech: MacroFactor

A regular series looking at tools and services we like that help keep health and fitness ... simple.

Simplavida Tech: MacroFactor

We talk a lot about simplicity in health and fitness, but that doesn't mean we are anti-technology. We just think people overdo it, pay attention to too many things, and don't focus enough on the short listโ€”like workout consistency, balancing cardio and resistance, avoiding injury, eating properly, sleeping well, and so onโ€”that make a difference.

There are, however, many simple tools and technologies we like, and we will regularly highlight some of them. To keep things simple, we will highlight one at a time, and we will keep the comments short and organized for fast scanning. Our general bias is toward simplicity, ease of use, and decluttering. If we ever have a financial or investment stake in any product we will say so.

This week we start with Macrofactor, which Paul at Simplavida loves and won't stop talking about.


What It Does

Macrofactor is a calorie-tracking app for Android and IOS.

Why That's Important

The average person gains 1-2 pounds per year starting in their 20s. One of the causes is that most people are terrible at estimating how many calories are in foods, consistently underestimating the caloric content. At the same time, people make a mess of their diet's composition, and have no idea where their calories are coming from, which can hamper muscle growth, general fitness, and so on.

Why It's Simple

It cuts out a lot of the clutter by finding your energy balance, the difference between what you eat and what you weigh. Give it good data for a week or so and it will lock down on our basal metabolic rate, given your weight changes and food intake. You don't have to estimate calories consumed from exercise. It also has a clean and clear UI, showing how you're doing on whatever strategy you've chosen, your dietary "macros"โ€”protein, carbs, and fatโ€”and makes it easy to add your usual foods.

One of its slickest features is its "AI Describe" feature, where you simply write what you had in general language (e.g., "two carne asada burritos with chips and salsa, plus a diet coke") and it will come up with the right dietary line items and add them to your food log. It is dead simple.

What's the Matter With All the Other Things Like This

Logging apps for what you eat are endless. We can't even begin to name them all. The trouble is, most are too complicated, take too long, are oriented toward specific diets, not appropriate for normal people just trying to understand what they're eating, and don't focus on dietary macros, to keep things ... simple.

What We Like Most About It

  • โœ… AI Describe feature that lets you use free text to enter foods
  • โœ… The simple and informative UI
  • โœ… How quick it is to use when entering data
  • โœ… How it focuses on energy balance without cluttering things up

What We Like Least About It

  • โŒ Given that it doesn't know anything about your activities, if your exercise varies a great deal from day to day its estimates of your energy usage can have broader ranges
  • โŒ It has only three strategies: Lose weight, gain weight, and maintain weight. We wish, for example, it had a recomposition strategy, for people who want to maintain weight but add muscle and/or lose body fat. While you can do that in Macrofactor, and they even have articles about it, it's not explicitly supported in the app.

Where You Can Get It

It's available in the IOS and Google app stores, and you can also learn more by visiting their site.

How Much It Costs

Free for 7 days, and then $5.99 USD a month.

Are We Biased?

No. We have no investment or other relationship. Weโ€”okay Paulโ€”just think it's an amazing product that can help normal people immensely.

Rating: ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ (5/5)

Related readings:

  1. Can People Accurately Estimate the Calories in Food Images? An Optimised Set of Low- and High- Calorie Images from the food-pics database - ScienceDirect
  2. Strategies to Prevent Weight Gain Among Adults - Abstract - Europe PMC

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