Which is better at predicting calories - Fitbit or MFP?

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My Fitbit app and MFP both give me a different amount of calories to maintain my weight with. For peeps that use both - which do you find to be more accurate?
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  • Azercord
    Azercord Posts: 573 Member
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    I have the fitbit blaze and it tracks my heartrate so I would call it more accurate. I have the two setup where the exercise adjustment comes from fitbit but the base calorie number is mfp.
  • inertiastrength
    inertiastrength Posts: 2,343 Member
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    My fitbit is pretty accurate when measured against my own data. I think it's a pretty good guide
  • MiniMexxxxx
    MiniMexxxxx Posts: 43 Member
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    Azercord wrote: »
    I have the fitbit blaze and it tracks my heartrate so I would call it more accurate. I have the two setup where the exercise adjustment comes from fitbit but the base calorie number is mfp.
    Thanks. Mines an Alta with no heart rate monitor so poss a little less accurate.
  • xLyric
    xLyric Posts: 840 Member
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    I find my Fitbit (no matter the model) is usually more accurate than MFP. I don't do exercises other than step-based, though.
  • MiniMexxxxx
    MiniMexxxxx Posts: 43 Member
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    xLyric wrote: »
    I find my Fitbit (no matter the model) is usually more accurate than MFP. I don't do exercises other than step-based, though.
    I have a feeling that may be the case. MFP is currently saying I have 400 cals left for the day even tho I've accounted for everything I have and will eat. I think that's too much.
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
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    Depends on what exactly you think each is predicting.

    FitBit provides total calories burned - based on your stats and it's measurement of your activity, some incorporate heart rates, etc. This would be an estimate of your TDEE.

    When MFP calculates your Maintenance calories, it does so using a NEAT calculation, which includes your BMR and your daily activity but not purposeful exercise. It is not meant to be the same as your TDEE, which is what FitBit is estimating.

    That said - if you have yourself set to maintain, and you have the two devices synced - they should work together to provide you the results you desire. MFP would have your goal set at 1800 for example, but if FitBit says you burned 2200, then you would have a 400 calorie exercise adjustment to bring you up to that 2200.

    Make sense? I've found the two systems working together to be quite accurate and used them to manage the second half of my weight loss, and now my maintenance, pretty seamlessly.
  • MiniMexxxxx
    MiniMexxxxx Posts: 43 Member
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    WinoGelato wrote: »
    Depends on what exactly you think each is predicting.

    FitBit provides total calories burned - based on your stats and it's measurement of your activity, some incorporate heart rates, etc. This would be an estimate of your TDEE.

    When MFP calculates your Maintenance calories, it does so using a NEAT calculation, which includes your BMR and your daily activity but not purposeful exercise. It is not meant to be the same as your TDEE, which is what FitBit is estimating.

    That said - if you have yourself set to maintain, and you have the two devices synced - they should work together to provide you the results you desire. MFP would have your goal set at 1800 for example, but if FitBit says you burned 2200, then you would have a 400 calorie exercise adjustment to bring you up to that 2200.

    Make sense? I've found the two systems working together to be quite accurate and used them to manage the second half of my weight loss, and now my maintenance, pretty seamlessly.

    Thank you. That does make sense. There's 120 calories left for the day between the 2 at the moment but perhaps it'll even put over what's left of the day.

  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
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    WinoGelato wrote: »
    Depends on what exactly you think each is predicting.

    FitBit provides total calories burned - based on your stats and it's measurement of your activity, some incorporate heart rates, etc. This would be an estimate of your TDEE.

    When MFP calculates your Maintenance calories, it does so using a NEAT calculation, which includes your BMR and your daily activity but not purposeful exercise. It is not meant to be the same as your TDEE, which is what FitBit is estimating.

    That said - if you have yourself set to maintain, and you have the two devices synced - they should work together to provide you the results you desire. MFP would have your goal set at 1800 for example, but if FitBit says you burned 2200, then you would have a 400 calorie exercise adjustment to bring you up to that 2200.

    Make sense? I've found the two systems working together to be quite accurate and used them to manage the second half of my weight loss, and now my maintenance, pretty seamlessly.

    Thank you. That does make sense. There's 120 calories left for the day between the 2 at the moment but perhaps it'll even put over what's left of the day.

    Well the other thing to keep in mind when you have the two synced is that there is often an end of the day adjustment which can result in a drop in the calories you have left for the day. FitBit prorates your calories, assuming you are going to be as active all day as you are at certain points in time, so if you go to bed early for example, and you aren't burning as many calories for the last 3 hours of the day, then when you wake up, you will often see that there are less calories (sometimes putting you in the negative) on MFP. Once you've been using the two systems for a while you get used to it, but I usually try to leave 50-100 calories available by the time I end my day, since I know many of those will be gone when I wake up.

    Also - I never look at how many calories FitBit says I have used or have left. I log all my food in MFP and let FitBit tell it how many calories I burned and how much "credit" I get in the form of exercise adjustments. When I first started using FitBit I drove myself batty trying to understand why the numbers were always different, then I realized it's different systems, different technology, different algorithms. They work well together, but they aren't identical.

  • MiniMexxxxx
    MiniMexxxxx Posts: 43 Member
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    WinoGelato wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    Depends on what exactly you think each is predicting.

    FitBit provides total calories burned - based on your stats and it's measurement of your activity, some incorporate heart rates, etc. This would be an estimate of your TDEE.

    When MFP calculates your Maintenance calories, it does so using a NEAT calculation, which includes your BMR and your daily activity but not purposeful exercise. It is not meant to be the same as your TDEE, which is what FitBit is estimating.

    That said - if you have yourself set to maintain, and you have the two devices synced - they should work together to provide you the results you desire. MFP would have your goal set at 1800 for example, but if FitBit says you burned 2200, then you would have a 400 calorie exercise adjustment to bring you up to that 2200.

    Make sense? I've found the two systems working together to be quite accurate and used them to manage the second half of my weight loss, and now my maintenance, pretty seamlessly.

    Thank you. That does make sense. There's 120 calories left for the day between the 2 at the moment but perhaps it'll even put over what's left of the day.

    Well the other thing to keep in mind when you have the two synced is that there is often an end of the day adjustment which can result in a drop in the calories you have left for the day. FitBit prorates your calories, assuming you are going to be as active all day as you are at certain points in time, so if you go to bed early for example, and you aren't burning as many calories for the last 3 hours of the day, then when you wake up, you will often see that there are less calories (sometimes putting you in the negative) on MFP. Once you've been using the two systems for a while you get used to it, but I usually try to leave 50-100 calories available by the time I end my day, since I know many of those will be gone when I wake up.

    Also - I never look at how many calories FitBit says I have used or have left. I log all my food in MFP and let FitBit tell it how many calories I burned and how much "credit" I get in the form of exercise adjustments. When I first started using FitBit I drove myself batty trying to understand why the numbers were always different, then I realized it's different systems, different technology, different algorithms. They work well together, but they aren't identical.

    Thanks. The fact that there might be a minus adjustment makes sense and sounds like things will even out. I have 230 left for day on MFP so will see how that changes overnight.
  • Grammytryingtogetfit
    Grammytryingtogetfit Posts: 672 Member
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    I suppose this is the same for the Garmin?
  • MelanieCN77
    MelanieCN77 Posts: 4,047 Member
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    Somewhere right in the middle I suspect. Right now I'm almost eating all my MFP and exercise cals and am slowly losing still, but I know that the 3-400 more that Fitbit has for me is way too many. Still working it out, though. I'm actually feeding myself up today :)
  • starfruit132
    starfruit132 Posts: 291 Member
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    I am maintaining using all my calories from fitbit although I want to still lose 5 more pounds. So, I would suggest that you use half the earned calories from fitbit and/or MFP. The problem is that because I synch the fitbit I want to eat what shows up on MFP, so the fitbit is a bit of a hindrance for me while still trying to lose.
  • MiniMexxxxx
    MiniMexxxxx Posts: 43 Member
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    Somewhere right in the middle I suspect. Right now I'm almost eating all my MFP and exercise cals and am slowly losing still, but I know that the 3-400 more that Fitbit has for me is way too many. Still working it out, though. I'm actually feeding myself up today :)
    mines the other way around. MFP is giving me more. Think I'll try and stay 100-200 under MFP and see how that goes.

  • girlinahat
    girlinahat Posts: 2,956 Member
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    WinoGelato wrote: »

    Well the other thing to keep in mind when you have the two synced is that there is often an end of the day adjustment which can result in a drop in the calories you have left for the day. FitBit prorates your calories, assuming you are going to be as active all day as you are at certain points in time, so if you go to bed early for example, and you aren't burning as many calories for the last 3 hours of the day, then when you wake up, you will often see that there are less calories (sometimes putting you in the negative) on MFP. Once you've been using the two systems for a while you get used to it, but I usually try to leave 50-100 calories available by the time I end my day, since I know many of those will be gone when I wake up.

    Also - I never look at how many calories FitBit says I have used or have left. I log all my food in MFP and let FitBit tell it how many calories I burned and how much "credit" I get in the form of exercise adjustments. When I first started using FitBit I drove myself batty trying to understand why the numbers were always different, then I realized it's different systems, different technology, different algorithms. They work well together, but they aren't identical.

    question - I understand about fitbit prorata-ing my daily calories, but what I can't get my head around yet is how to set up both systems. Do I let MFP calculate a calorie goal? What about fitbit? how do I set it? Do I set a calorie goal there? On fitbit it won't show me the base rate of calories it is using prior to exercise so I can't be certain it is starting from the same point as MFP.

  • MiniMexxxxx
    MiniMexxxxx Posts: 43 Member
    edited April 2017
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    girlinahat wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »

    Well the other thing to keep in mind when you have the two synced is that there is often an end of the day adjustment which can result in a drop in the calories you have left for the day. FitBit prorates your calories, assuming you are going to be as active all day as you are at certain points in time, so if you go to bed early for example, and you aren't burning as many calories for the last 3 hours of the day, then when you wake up, you will often see that there are less calories (sometimes putting you in the negative) on MFP. Once you've been using the two systems for a while you get used to it, but I usually try to leave 50-100 calories available by the time I end my day, since I know many of those will be gone when I wake up.

    Also - I never look at how many calories FitBit says I have used or have left. I log all my food in MFP and let FitBit tell it how many calories I burned and how much "credit" I get in the form of exercise adjustments. When I first started using FitBit I drove myself batty trying to understand why the numbers were always different, then I realized it's different systems, different technology, different algorithms. They work well together, but they aren't identical.

    question - I understand about fitbit prorata-ing my daily calories, but what I can't get my head around yet is how to set up both systems. Do I let MFP calculate a calorie goal? What about fitbit? how do I set it? Do I set a calorie goal there? On fitbit it won't show me the base rate of calories it is using prior to exercise so I can't be certain it is starting from the same point as MFP.

    Do you have a day that you forgot to wear your Fitbit? If you go back to that day on your dashboard it will have your days calories without any extra movement added. Mine is 1138 which is also very close to that calculated by a bodytrax machine at my gym which is reassuring if disappointingly low
  • girlinahat
    girlinahat Posts: 2,956 Member
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    girlinahat wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »

    Well the other thing to keep in mind when you have the two synced is that there is often an end of the day adjustment which can result in a drop in the calories you have left for the day. FitBit prorates your calories, assuming you are going to be as active all day as you are at certain points in time, so if you go to bed early for example, and you aren't burning as many calories for the last 3 hours of the day, then when you wake up, you will often see that there are less calories (sometimes putting you in the negative) on MFP. Once you've been using the two systems for a while you get used to it, but I usually try to leave 50-100 calories available by the time I end my day, since I know many of those will be gone when I wake up.

    Also - I never look at how many calories FitBit says I have used or have left. I log all my food in MFP and let FitBit tell it how many calories I burned and how much "credit" I get in the form of exercise adjustments. When I first started using FitBit I drove myself batty trying to understand why the numbers were always different, then I realized it's different systems, different technology, different algorithms. They work well together, but they aren't identical.

    question - I understand about fitbit prorata-ing my daily calories, but what I can't get my head around yet is how to set up both systems. Do I let MFP calculate a calorie goal? What about fitbit? how do I set it? Do I set a calorie goal there? On fitbit it won't show me the base rate of calories it is using prior to exercise so I can't be certain it is starting from the same point as MFP.

    Do you have a day that you forgot to wear your Fitbit? If you go back to that day on your dashboard it will have your days calories without any extra movement added. Mine is 1138 which is also very close to that calculated by a bodytrax machine at my gym which is reassuring if disappointingly low

    I guess it's more about how to set each device - MFP and fitbit. I want my fitbit to sync with MFP, and I log my food intake on MFP. However I am finding fitbit is adding too many calories. Should I have a calorie goal in fitbit?
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
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    girlinahat wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »

    Well the other thing to keep in mind when you have the two synced is that there is often an end of the day adjustment which can result in a drop in the calories you have left for the day. FitBit prorates your calories, assuming you are going to be as active all day as you are at certain points in time, so if you go to bed early for example, and you aren't burning as many calories for the last 3 hours of the day, then when you wake up, you will often see that there are less calories (sometimes putting you in the negative) on MFP. Once you've been using the two systems for a while you get used to it, but I usually try to leave 50-100 calories available by the time I end my day, since I know many of those will be gone when I wake up.

    Also - I never look at how many calories FitBit says I have used or have left. I log all my food in MFP and let FitBit tell it how many calories I burned and how much "credit" I get in the form of exercise adjustments. When I first started using FitBit I drove myself batty trying to understand why the numbers were always different, then I realized it's different systems, different technology, different algorithms. They work well together, but they aren't identical.

    question - I understand about fitbit prorata-ing my daily calories, but what I can't get my head around yet is how to set up both systems. Do I let MFP calculate a calorie goal? What about fitbit? how do I set it? Do I set a calorie goal there? On fitbit it won't show me the base rate of calories it is using prior to exercise so I can't be certain it is starting from the same point as MFP.

    What I did was use MFP to set up my goal and baseline calories, and I track all calories consumed in MFP. I enabled negative calorie adjustments so that if I do have a less active day than normal, MFP deducts calories from me since I'm not moving as much. I made sure that FitBit had same stats, same goal (i.e. Lose 1 lb/week), etc. then I let FitBit tell MFP how many cals I am burning. If you do non step based exercise, you can log that in either system (but not both), they will carry over.

    I never look at the FitBit calories consumed, calories remaining, etc. I only look at step count and total calories burned.

    Also, a common question for people is about the actual adjustment from MFP to account for those FitBit calories. It's not equivalent to a calorie burn from a specific exercise you did. It's a true up of the difference between what MFP thought you would burn without exercise, and what FitBit said you actually burned. So it is just a simple subtraction with the goal of keeping your Net calories what MFP suggests you need in order to lose at the rate you selected.

    It has worked quite well for me but it takes a bit of trust in the process and the two systems.
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,658 Member
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    My fitbit is within 5% of my calculated TDEE over an 8 month period. MFP is well under.
  • yskaldir
    yskaldir Posts: 202 Member
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    Mfp gives me less than 2100 as my tdee, I know from experience that's cutting calories for me.

    Fitbit tend to hover between 2300 and 2800, so in my case fitbit is more accurate. Ymmv