App reveals calorie counts through food photos

12 Apr 2011

Fitness buffs or those who just want to keep an eye on their health may have a new ally in Meal Snap, a new app that calculates the calorie content of meals using photos of the food taken by the app’s user.

Meal Snap, developed by fitness social network DailyBurn, also tells the user what foods are in his or her meal.

The app matches a photo of a meal to a database of about 500,000 food items and moments later the app sends the user an alert containing a calorie count for the meal.

“The database can quickly help identity the food, how many calories there are, proteins, fat, carbs, vitamins, whatever you may want to know,” DailyBurn CEO Andy Smith told Reuters.

Meal Snap is available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and costs US$2.99 in the iTunes Store.

Reviews left on the app’s listing in the iTunes Store have been mixed.

A user said he or she had taken a photo of one biscuit and then two biscuits. The resulting calorie count showed two biscuits had fewer calories than one biscuit.

One more user expressed, “Wow! It really works. This app really does what it says.”

When it comes to accuracy in terms of identifying food, the app does the job, according to another user: “To test it out I took a picture of my cat. The result said she was not food.”

Tina Costanza