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PhotoCalorie now completely free!

March 25th, 2011

PhotoCalorie is now free for a limited time! No iPhone needed.

Prerequisites in order to use PhotoCalorie:

1. Ownership of a smartphone or computer.
2. Engages in daily food consumption

Sign up for free at PhotoCalorie.com or download the free iPhone app and start tracking your food today!

iPhone app

New Feature: Goals and Charts!

November 30th, 2010

We have now added Goals and Charts!

Goals:

Based on your BMI and goals, PhotoCalorie will calculate the amount of calories you should consume each day to achieve your goal weight. You can enter your information by selecting: More, then choosing  Edit Profile. Your calorie goal will also show up in your journal, next to your running calorie count.

Charts:

To track your progress, you can now select Charts at the top of the page.

Charts example on a desktop browser

  • At the top left, you can choose how many days to display (for Mac users, 2-finger scroll up and down your trackpad will zoom in or out as well).
  • In the middle of the page, above the graph, there is a drop down menu to choose which nutrient you would like to track.

In the example above, calories per day are displayed. The blue peaks are the calories eaten for each day, and the red line is your daily caloric goal. Hovering over any point will display the calories eaten for that day, as well as your caloric-goal in the top right portion of the chart.

Charts example on iPhone

On the iPhone, you can click on any point to view the calories for that day.

Enjoy!

Updates, iPhone app

New Feature: Photo Slide Show of your Culinary Creations!

November 23rd, 2010

A recent article in the New York Times profiled the growing popularity of photographing your food. “Keeping a photographic food diary is a growing phenomenon with everything from truffle-stuffed suckling pig to humble bowls of Cheerios being captured and offered for public consumption,” the article explains.

Because of this, we wanted to create a way for users to easily scroll through magnified photos of their culinary creations. By clicking on one of your images, you can scroll through them as you would your facebook pictures.

Screen shot of photo slide show on desktop browser

The photos can also offer some added motivation. “It’s definitely part of my neuroticism about trying to keep thin,” says Javier Garcia, the neuroscientist profiled in the NYTimes article. “It keeps you accountable because you don’t want to have to see that you ate an entire jar of peanut butter.” He began photographing his foods after he lost 80 pounds.

Screen shot of photo slide show on iPhone app

We believe it is very important for people to cook more of their foods and eat less pre-packaged “food like substances” as Michael Pollan likes to say. Having the ability to scroll through your photos will allow you to display your cooking prowess, as well as improve your ability to estimate serving sizes using PhotoCalorie.

Once you have snapped a photo of your food, now comes the hard part: telling us what you ate and how much of it you ate. Much research has shown that people have terrible trouble estimating their portion sizes. So because of this, we give examples of food sizes in the palm of your hand to help you estimate:

The foods in our database are all standardized to one serving size specific to the food type. If you search for a food and don’t specify serving size, it will return the default serving sizes (most of which shown above. Click here to learn more about our serving sizes)

In the example above, my chicken breast seems approximately twice as large as the example, meaning I would type: “Grilled chicken breast *2,” which means 6 oz of chicken breast. The broccoli and rice each seem to be about the same size as the photos, or 1 cup each. Therefore the search query for this meal would be “Grilled chicken breast*2, rice, broccoli.”

THAT’S IT!

One search returns the nutrition for the 3 foods combined. No drop down menus to scroll through or strange units to convert.

We hope you enjoy our progress! In our next blog post, I will describe our other recently developed feature: sharing your journal with others.




Updates, iPhone app

Food Rules and Food Journals: a Healthy Match

February 23rd, 2010

I just enjoyed reading Michael Pollan‘s new mini-book entitled Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.  I will save you yet another review of the book—Instead, I’ll just mention that it is always helpful to have a two-hour refresher course in age-old common-sense eating practices.

Pollan’s book is divided into three sections, based on his oft-quoted mantra: “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  Among the sections, there are 64 two-paragraph rules of thumb, including:

  • “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,”
  • “Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle,”
  • “Eat only foods that will eventually rot,”
  • “Eat mostly plants, especially leaves,”
  • “Don’t overlook the oily little fishes,”
  • “Eat all the junkfood you want as long as you cook it yourself,”
  • “Buy smaller plates and glasses,”
  • “Server a proper portion and don’t go back for seconds,” and my favorite
  • “Break the rules once in a while.”

Pollan is careful to not come off as dogmatic or prescriptive: as you can see in the last rule of his book, following the rules includes breaking the rules, as long as you are conscious of how you break them and how often you break them.

Given how short Food Rules is, it is worth the read.  Before jumping into the book, however, equip yourself with tools that will help you gauge yourself.  Spend a week building a food journal in PhotoCalorie.  Once you have a record of your eating habits, take the quick read through Pollan’s book.  If you find any inspirational rules, take a quick look at your food journal for the past week: do you see anything concrete in the pictures you took that you would like to do more of or avoid in the future?  After completing the book, spend the next week reflecting as you keep your PhotoCalorie food journal.  Hopefully, combining the rules with a regular food journal can help you move toward or maintain a healthy diet.

Nutrition and Weight Loss, iPhone app

Some recent stats

January 5th, 2010

We’ve been amazed with the number of downloads since releasing PhotoCalorie. The 10 most popular queries are (in order from most to least): Banana, Bread, Apple, Chocolate, Coffee, Peanut butter toast, Spinach, Special k fruit, Orange juice, and Glass of Coopers Pale Ale.

iPhone app

PhotoCalorie is now officially released

December 31st, 2009

Happy New Year! With that comes the typical New Year’s resolution which is often to lose weight or try to be healthier in general. We think that PhotoCalorie can help you easily keep a food journal and who knows – maybe you’ll see an interesting pattern in what you eat, which will inspire you to make a change.

We hope you enjoy the app – you can get it for free here.

iPhone app

PhotoCalorie iPhone App Approved!

December 27th, 2009

After only 5 days, our first app was approved by Apple.  I was expecting at least a two week review process based on everything that I’ve heard, so hopefully this is a good sign that Apple likes the app.  We are releasing the app on 1/1/10 for free.  We have drastically simplified the process of keeping a food journal by incorporating a Google-like search of our vast database to calculate the nutrition content of your diet.  While we strive to be as accurate as possible, some values may be off (if you find an error – please let us know!).

We hope you enjoy it and, by all means, please let us know how you are using it and what you think by emailing us at: info@photocalorie.com.

iPhone app