7 Ways to Eat Like a Successful MyFitnessPal User

MyFitnessPal
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7 Ways to Eat Like a Successful MyFitnessPal User

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.

About the Author

MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal provides powerful tools that make it easier for anyone to live a healthier life by tracking their meals and physical activity. Make healthy choices and join Under Armour Connected Fitness™, the world’s largest digital fitness community: Visit the MyFitnessPal blog and download UA RecordMapMyRunMyFitnessPal and Endomondo.

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13 responses to “7 Ways to Eat Like a Successful MyFitnessPal User”

  1. Avatar Chelin Jamie Hu says:

    This is some very interesting result! Especially the polar differences bw the general trend and the successful users! I also would like to know how much daily physical activity or exercise/workout that the successful people are averaging compared to the rest.

    • Avatar hyundai i30 says:

      Very interesting. I’d be interested to also hear the average weight and average amount of pounds loss within this same sample

      • what’s on the rise. For example, avocado oil is up 77% and coconut oil is up nearly 16%. Meanwhile, people have been eating far fewer grains (18.7%), less bread (-9.6%), cereal (-20%) and pasta (-12.75%). These numbers are in line with diet trends that emphasize healthy fats and encourage lower consumption of carbohydrates.

  2. Avatar petrius_stew says:

    interesting about eggs

    • In order to break out the data, we first had to make some definitions. In this case, we’ve defined “successful users” as those who have set a weight-loss goal, and are within 5% of reaching that goal. We then compared insights about those users with those from the rest of the database. We wanted to answer the questions: Are they eating differently than the rest of us? What are they doing that others aren’t?

  3. Avatar Jason Moraz says:

    Very interesting. I’d be interested to also hear the average weight and average amount of pounds loss within this same sample

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    Great article. Trying to do no meat and no dairy myself..

  5. Avatar Hhotelconsult says:

    This is when it gets interesting… parsing the amount of existing datas to better hone in on all this stuff. I don’t want to be boring, and I am a bit of a neophyte, but if an algorithm could accurately inform me of what I should eat and when based on my work out schedule, it would be so awesome.

  6. Avatar Beth says:

    Even successful users only eat 13 grams of fiber?! Wow…
    Although I think what I’m most blown away by is how much cereal successful users eat. I had to stop eating cereal–and switched to eggs– years ago because my experience was that cereal made me hungry within hours. Not only that, but most cereals just make me want to eat more cereal– I could never eat just one bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, or Special K. Frosted mini wheats are the only cereal that I can both a) find palatable (sorry Grape Nuts) and b) eat non-insane amounts of.
    I think these results are interesting for sure, but I don’t plan on modifying what’s working for me already. But I could see it being helpful for some still figuring out what works for them!

    • Avatar James Clark says:

      Oatmeal is also considered a cereal. Perhaps they are consuming less processed product than the sugar laden box cereals.

  7. Avatar Teri B says:

    The nerd in me loves this data. <3

  8. Avatar Ghetto Counselor says:

    Love this idea of mining the data. This is a reasonable first stab at it and the stated methodology leaves plenty of room for improvement. I’m not sure there is quite enough detail for any real analysis against one’s own diet, assuming one’s own diet is working, that said it might provide some insights.

    Most confusing to me personally are cereal and yogurt. To me, other than perhaps what might be a compact fiber source if you get the right cereal, cereal seems like a carb bomb. If you want fiber eat cauliflower or Brussel sprouts and skip all the other carbs; albeit these sources of fiber are far more expensive (generally) and not as shelf stable. As for yogurt, putting aside some of the debatable benefits in the arena of gut flora (science hasn’t really proven this out), is this a protein source for people?

    One thing I’m seeing in my attempt to gather insight from this analysis is that although these broad brush strokes are interesting I’m still left wondering why cereal, why yogurt. OK you’re eating more of these than the average but for what purpose, what role are these things playing.

    Again love the idea of one of the posts that it would be great if someday a system could tell me what to eat! Or at least make suggestions based on analysis of this sort of thing against what I’m doing.

  9. Avatar Clinton Mckinney says:

    those are good tips.

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