We know most people start using MyFitnessPal to lose weight. Whether you joined to help you reach a resolution, feel better in your daily life or fit into a favorite outfit, we’ve noticed some patterns that can help you on your weight-loss journey.
We did a deep dive into logging data to document the surprising patterns of our most successful users. We defined “successful users” as those who have set a weight-loss goal and got within 5% of reaching that goal. We then compared insights about those users with those from the rest of the database.*
For the most part, the users we looked at had a similar breakdown in terms of calories. They have very similar calorie goals, and they’re logging comparable percentages of fat, carbohydrates, sugar and protein. Here’s where they differed:
1. THEY ATE MORE FIBER
Successful users ate a whopping 29% more fiber on average, consuming an average of 13.5 grams per day versus 10.5 grams for other users.
Even our successful users have room for improvement on this front: They don’t even eat the daily recommended amount of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Studies have shown that simply focusing on increasing fiber intake can make a huge impact on your health. It’s not surprising that higher fiber intake leads to successful outcomes.
Dietitian recommendation: If you resolve to do one thing this year, meet the daily fiber recommendations. Get started by learning how to spot 30+ grams of fiber.
2. THEY ATE MORE CEREAL
On that theme, successful users ate 17% more cereal. In general, cereal consumption fell to the tune of 20% in 2016, despite much evidence that a bowl of flakes can be a great way to start the day. In fact, people ate far fewer grains (18.7%), less bread (-9.6%), cereal (-20%) and pasta (-12.75%) in 2016 versus 2015. These numbers are in line with diet trends that emphasize healthy fats and encourage lower consumption of carbohydrates. Successful users, however, bucked that trend. Join them by making smart cereal choices.
3. THEY ATE FEWER EGGS
Overall, eggs are filling the plates of more and more users year over year — there was a 20% jump in egg consumption during 2016 — a predictable result of people turning to low-carb diets who are replacing carbohydrates with protein sources. Our successful users, however, ate 13% fewer eggs than the rest of the database.
4. THEY ATE LESS MEAT
Successful users also ate 11% less meat than other users. With the popularity of a wide range of low-carb diets, this one surprised us.
5. THEY ATE MORE YOGURT
Yogurt has been linked to smaller waist circumference and lower body mass index, weight and body fat, according to studies. However, users ate 11% less yogurt in 2016 than the year before. We saw the opposite trend with successful users. On average they ate 11% more yogurt than the rest of the population. They also ate 13% more Greek yogurt. Learn more about the yogurt aisle here.
6. THEY ATE MORE ALMONDS
Successful users ate 10% more almonds than the rest of the database. Want to join them? Check out these ways to eat more almonds. They ate lots more healthful oils and nuts in general.
7. THEY ATE MORE OLIVE OIL
Olive oil has long been linked to a healthful diet, and there are countless studies that tout the health benefits of this Mediterranean staple. That said, it has experienced a drop in popularity over the last several years, dropping 12% between 2015–16. Yet successful users still ate 10% more olive oil than the rest of the population. We were surprised to see that, in many cases, the eating habits of successful users have been bucking the trends.
*Methodology: All analyses were conducted on a sample of 4.2 million MyFitnessPal users in the USA, all of whom were recently active on the app, had originally signed up with a goal of losing weight and had recorded at least two weight measurements in MyFitnessPal. We compared that data to a sample of about 427,000 who were within 5% of their stated goal weight at the time the data were pulled. The comparisons look at differences in diet and exercise habits between that set of 427,000 “successful” users versus all of the other 3.8 million users in the sample.