MealSnap Makes Counting Calories a Snap

Ever wish there was a magical way to find out how many calories are in a plate of food? Thanks to DailyBurn’s MealSnap app, an application that analyzes food photos and returns calorie counts, there is (sort of).

MealSnap works like this: users snap a photo of a meal or snack and the app will estimate how many calories the food contains. Mashable warns that the estimates can be pretty broad. For example, a photo of salad and chicken nuggets returned a calorie count of 107 – 406 calories. Too broad for hardcore counters, perhaps, but still useful for those who want a general idea how many calories they'll consume. Additionally, the app doesn’t take portion sizes into account and it doesn’t always identify food correctly. Never the less, Mashable noted that MealSnap recognizes a surprising variety of food and the calorie counts it returns are comparable to those one might find in a calorie counting reference book.

So how does the app work? DailyBurn CEO Andy Smith has declined to comment, other than to say it’s “magic.” However, the executive does admit that both humans and top-secret algorithms are behind the seemingly impossible technology. Not everyone buys Smith's magical claims.

“No magic here — just a Mechanical Turk (essentially, some guy in india who gets $0.03 per picture he estimates). This is not the shazam of food, just unqualified people making bad caloric estimates,” said one commenter.

What do you think? Would you give MealSnap a try?


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Categories: iPhone Apps

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