I’m not a big app guy, instead preferring to keep a loose running tally of how I’m eating, training, and living, but my understanding is that kids these days love smartphone apps. Besides, I often forget that not everyone lives and breathes this stuff. Not everyone geeks out over all the minutiae and maintains an extensive database of keto and Primal-related errata in their heads.
So today, I’m giving you a list of the top 9 keto (and keto-relevant) apps.
I actually do keep this one on my phone. CRON-O-Meter (iOS, Android) draws on the latest USDA databases for nutritional info to help you track calories, micronutrients (including vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (including specific amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates) to plot them against the RDAs and see how much each food contributes. It keeps a running tally of everything you eat and gives you the lowdown on how close you are to fulfilling the RDAs for each nutrient. If you use the same email to login, you can access your account on your desktop, too.
While its intended audience is the CRON (calorie restriction with optimal nutrition) crowd, most of whom tend to be vaguely plant-based, the app is just a solid nutrition tracker that provides a lot of detailed information relevant to any type of eater, including keto dieters. It’s fun to enter a half a pound of beef liver and see your vitamin A, folate, and B-vitamin requirements instantly satisfied. The barcode scanner also works really well.
Keto dieters tend to focus only on macros—on carbs, protein, and fat—and ignore the micronutrients. This is the wrong course to take, and CRON-O-Meter will help you get your micros in order. Wondering about your potassium or magnesium or folate? It’s also good for carb counting, even if that’s not the express purpose of the app.
Only drawback is that it doesn’t track iodine or vitamin K2. USDA databases, start analyzing those nutrients!
Wholesome (iOS) is like CRON-O-Meter except it has better photos, it tracks phytonutrients like resveratrol and curcumin, and it’s clunkier. The photo-based interface, while nice, actually throws me off a bit. I just prefer text. If you’re more of a visual person, you’ll probably love Wholesome.
I will admit that it’s very cool to see how much L-dopa my food contains.
Folks in the Primal Blueprint Keto Reset Facebook Grouplove Carb Manager (iOS, Android). It’s self-explanatory. Manage your carbs. The paid version gives you full access to micronutrient data.
I prefer CRON-O-Meter myself, but then again I like to geek out on micronutrients. If you like a slick interface and good functionality, Carb Manager might be the ticket.
How many times have you uttered the words, “Is it paleo?” How often does someone who knows you as the resident Primal expert ask it of you?
This is probably old hat to most of you. You can probably scan an aisle of food and immediately analyze the paleo-ness of the ingredients, complete with Terminator-style HUD readouts. Many of you have the answers.
It’s easy to forget how confusing this stuff can be to beginners. Paleo (io) (iOS, Android) answers “Is it paleo?” with a simple “yes” or “no.” Enter the food in question, get the answer. You can also search the app’s paleo food database of over 3000 foods to get more information.
I highly recommend beginners who want to stay keto and honor their biology while hewing to a Primal eating lens combine one of the food database apps like CRON-O-Meter or Carb Manager with Paleo (io). Use the various food trackers to check the carb count of your food, then run that through a Paleo (io) filter.
Senza (iOS, Android) is a decent introductory guide to keto with a good macro tracker. That’s its main claim to fame. It’s not why I’m recommending it, though (my Keto Reset is a bit better, if you ask me). I’m recommending it because of the 2000-strong recipe database.
I haven’t read through every last one. I’m sure there are some duds, maybe a few Splenda-bombs. The ones I did see looked great, and you can’t beat being able to whip out your phone at the grocery store at 5 P.M. with dinner fast approaching, select an app, and draw on hundreds of recipes to come up with a game plan.
This isn’t actually available yet. According to the iOS app store, the expected release date is October 14, 2018. But the premise is really cool: Search for keto-friendly menu items at restaurants near you. Sort of a “keto Yelp.’
If it works out, and it can actually pull enough data from restaurants, it should be a very useful app to have around.
HRV tracks stress resilience and recovery. If HRV is low, you’re probably worn out, overtrained, and overextended. If HRV is high, you’re probably full of energy, well-recovered, and well-balanced. A low HRV can mean that you’re training too much (or even too little, as regular physical activity increases stress resilience), and it almost certainly indicates that your diet and activity levels are mismatched.
Keto can be tricky for people used to training heavy, hard, and high-volume, at least when they’re first starting out. Tracking your HRV can help you figure out just how hard to go without derailing your diet—or how keto to go without derailing your training.
You do need an external heart rate monitor for this one.
The beauty of HRV4Training (iOS) is that it uses the phone’s camera to track your HRV. Not quite as accurate as the HRV apps that use external monitors, but close enough to give you good data, especially if you track it consistently and observe the trends. You can’t beat the convenience.
Keto and fasting go hand in hand. When you go keto (or even just low-carb Primal), fasting just kinda… happens. Your ghrelin drops, you eat more fat and protein, you eat more nutrient-dense foods, you get incredibly adept at burning your own body fat, and all of a sudden you’re going longer between meals, and sometimes skipping them because you simply aren’t hungry. That’s fasting.
Zero (iOS) is a fasting tracker. You choose the fasting regimen you prefer—16-hour long fast, a “circadian rhythm fast,”or create your own schedule, then hit “start” and hit “stop” when you eat something. Over time, you accumulate reams of exportable data, which you can plot against bodyweight changes and relevant health markers to spot trends and identify connections.
Although I know it’s popular, I’d avoid MyFitnessPal. Its popularity is actually the root of the issue: because so many people use it, the nutritional database has become corrupted by inaccurate or incomplete user submissions. Stick with something like CRON-O-Meter that uses primarily the USDA and other official nutrient databases, unless maybe you’re only using it for macros.
That’s it for today, folks. Those are my 9 top Keto or Keto-related smartphone apps. What are yours?
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.