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The new PhotoCalorie officially released!

October 13th, 2010

After months and months of hard work, we are proud to announce the release of the new PhotoCalorie. No longer just an iPhone app, it is now a web-service available to all!

You can view our new site at We have been working very hard to create what we believe is the easiest to use food journal on the planet. Below is a list of the major changes we have made in order to improve our service:

Automatically syncs with desktop:

Now that there is a desktop version, you will never be without your food journal. Whether you download use iPhone app or access the site through your smart phone, your entries will automatically update on your home computer.

Search for multiple foods at once, including serving sizes in the search:

Never before has a food journal been able to search for an entire meal and the serving sizes of each individual food with one step. The days of  “search for one food > choose that food from a large list > choose the time you ate it > choose the servings >search for the next food > choose from a list…” are no longer.

Now all you need to do is type: food1 * serving size1, food2 *serving size2, etc.

Food Database 6X larger:

We have spent a lot of time improving our database. We have 6X more foods than before and all our serving sizes are standardized to the servings typically consumed. (They can be viewed here)

We have also dramatically improved the accuracy of our search, which is an on-going process.

It is free to search our database and download the iPhone app. We also are offering a 30 day free trial for all users for the rest of our features.

Hope you enjoy our progress!


Eating Carbs Before a Workout Dramatically Decreases How Much Fat You Burn

February 1st, 2010

Ever wondered what to eat before heading to the gym for your daily workout? The answer to this question depends on what your goal is as well as who you ask. Looking to run the next Boston marathon? You should probably eat a balanced meal, high in complex carbs, to try to build up your stored glycogen. But for the rest of us, does it even matter what we eat?

Before we answer this question, we must first review some basic physiology. Let’s look at carbohydrate metabolism. When a person eats carbs, whether they drink a Coke or eat some brown rice, the starches and sugars are broken down into glucose, eventually increasing the glucose present in your blood. Cells all over the body can use this glucose for energy and nutrition. Shortly after this spike, your pancreas notices this change in blood sugar and releases a hormone called insulin, which essentially causes the liver, muscle and fat tissue to take up the glucose, and brings the blood sugar back to healthy levels. The speed with which this happens is based on the glycemic index of the food, which measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar. Coke would cause a larger, more immediate rise in blood sugar, leading to a speedier release of insulin. Brown rice on the other hand, has a lower glycemic index. The glucose would enter the blood stream at a slower rate, leading to a more gradual release of insulin. Protein also leads to an increase in insulin, but to a much smaller extent.

When insulin is released, the body goes into storage mode. Glucose from the blood is being stored in your fat cells, your liver cells, and your muscle cells. This is precisely the opposite of what you want to happen in your fat cells while you are exercising. Ideally our fat cells will release their stored energy into the blood stream as fatty acids and glycerol. The fat cells  would shrink in size, causing us to shrink in size as well.

In an article published last month, German researchers tested this hypothesis. They looked at the effect of exercise during a fasting state and 30 minutes after a carbohydrate-rich or protein-rich meal. During each scenario, the researchers measured the blood glycerol and insulin levels in each subject. As illustrated in the figure below, when the subjects ate bread 30 minutes before exercising, their insulin spiked, inhibiting the fat cells from being broken down and used as energy (the line with solid squares). When they ate pork 30 minutes in advance (line with empty triangles), there was also an insulin spike, but a much smaller one.

The researchers explained the results saying fat cells being broken down during exercise is “virtually abolished by a small carbohydrate-rich meal when ingested shortly before exercise.” In summary, to burn the most fat during moderate intensity exercise, try not to eat anything a few hours before you head to the gym, but if you do eat, stay away from those Cheetos!

You can use PhotoCalorie to help monitor this. If you exercise around the same time every day, check out your journal to see if you have been eating carbs right before your workouts, as they can decrease how much fat you burn while you are exercising, and may lead to less weight loss overall. Hope this helps you lose weight more efficiently!



November 11th, 2009

Welcome to!

We are very excited about what our application and website can offer to someone wanting to track what foods they are eating. Whether you goal is to lose or gain weight, maintain your current weight, track your calories or saturated fat intake, or just keep a record of what you’ve been eating, we are confident that photocalorie can help you.

In an effort to offer up to date advice on current research in the fields of nutrition and weight control, our nutrition expert will maintain a blog at updated daily which keeps you informed of the current studies being done as well as a summary of the major findings. This blog can be easily accessed through our PhotoCalorie iPhone application.

Our goal is to provide information and advice based strictly on current findings in scientific literature, and NOT on advice from “Diet Guru’s” who claim to posses the secrets to health and wellness.