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New Device Can Count Calories by Scanning Food

New Device Can Count Calories by Scanning Food


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Just wave the device over your plate and it’ll count the calories

The device also detects allergens, chemicals, ingredients, and nutrients.

Have you ever looked down at a plate of food and wondered exactly how many calories you’re about to consume? While dieters have been forced to keep track and tabulate individual meal components for years, a new invention, called Tellspec, allows you to simply scan your meal, and it’ll tell you calorie counts, allergy info, and a host of other details. The device is currently in the process of being crowdfunded through Indiegogo.

This Year's 5 Most Outrageous Culinary Inventions So Far

The gadget, which connects to your smartphone, uses a technology called raman spectrometry (not ramen), which can detect the chemical makeup of an object via lasers. So when you wave it over your plate, it’ll tell you the calorie count as well as ingredients and whether it contains gluten, trans fats, or pesticides.

Pretty nifty, right? We can see this item becoming a little bit of an obsession for some. If you’re curious, you can check out their page on Indiegogo, which goes into a lot more technical detail. If you back it with a $150 donation, you’ll get two years of unlimited food scanning.


New Wristband Can Supposedly Count Your Calories With No Help from You

Its makers claim it can tell what you're eating by how you hold it.

Many weight loss experts will tell you that the only real way to shed pounds is to burn more calories than you consume. That’s why calorie counting is such a popular method for tightening waistlines. However, anyone who has ever resorted to calorie counting (yes, it was my pre-wedding regimen) knows that the worst part of calorie counting is the actual calorie counting: Remembering to log everything you eat is a giant hassle, especially since your carefree spirit is what put you in need of weight loss to begin with.

But Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) claims to be on the path to solving this problem – making calorie counting as easy as pretty much not doing anything at all… except wearing a wristband. According to Japan Today, NTT has been testing a wristwatch-like wearable device that utilizes 𠇍ietary Content Recognition Technology” to determine what dieters are eating, and how much of it, without any additional input from the user. Reportedly, the wristband is equipped with tech like an acceleration sensor and gyroscope, which allows it to determine what’s being eaten based on the movements of the user’s arm – the assumption being that the way people eat sushi is different from the way they eat bread. Once the wristband knows what food is being consumed, the device can then theoretically use the frequency of these movements to determine how much was eaten.

This crazy new technology was reportedly unveiled at the NTT R&D Forum 2017 where a demonstration proved it could tell the difference between a beef bowl, sushi and bread. NTT said the wristband could also tell the difference between curry and pasta. However, the company apparently admitted plenty of work remains before the device would be ready commercially, including market research to determine if the wristband would be accurate enough to be effective. You definitely don’t want to find yourself saying, “I spent a night singing karaoke and my wristband told me I had eaten 17 popsicles!”


Best devices for calorie counting

Fitbit Charge 2

Sure, your Fitbit can track your steps and calorie burn, but you can also sync this up with the accompanying app to keep an eye on your diet.

No matter which Fitbit device you're rocking on your wrist, logging food can help you build up a picture of your intake, but the Charge 2 is our choice for the best of what the company has to offer from a tracking perspective.

By heading to the Nutrition and Body Goals section of the app, you'll be free to set up a food plan, and logging is made simple by the ability to save meals you'll be frequently adding. And speaking of timesavers, the app's barcode scanner also comes in handy for when you want instant nutritional info added in.

It's certainly hard to find wearables that offer dedicated food tracking areas, as editor Mike Sawh found in his food tracking diary, but Fitbit tries to make the experience easier with these features.

$149.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Nokia Steel HR

The artist formerly known as Withings is now Nokia after the latter's takeover, though aside from the refreshed Health Mate platform this is largely the same equation.

You'll still get all your daily fitness metrics - one that you can take advantage of through the likes of the Nokia Steel HR. The activity timeline is your go-to screen when you open the app, giving you an overview of activity chronological order, with this also prime to include your food intake.

There's just one thing: it's not really from Nokia. When you tap the plus icon to begin your logging, you'll notice that this is powered through the folks at MyFitnessPal (detailed below).

This is by no means a negative, considering the app's standing, but is a factor to potentially consider wen looking for a smartwatch that can help you travel the food tracking path, or if you're already locked into MyFitnessPal.

$179.95, nokia.com | Amazon


New Phone App Computes Calories By Taking a Picture of Your Meal

It's Sunday morning and you're out for a delightful brunch. You know that mile high stack of chocolate chip pancakes blanketed with maple syrup is outside of your diet, but you're just not quite sure how much. And then from across the table, your brunch mate snaps a shot of the stack and within minutes you know the damage. It turns out this is entirely possible.

According to a story on Reuters, which I first saw on Mother Nature Network, a new smart phone app can do just that. After taking a picture of a food item, the info is transmitted to a calorie database and within minutes it returns the range of calories in your meal.

The app is called MealSnap and it can transmit information for over 500,000 food items.

"The database can quickly help identity the food, how many calories there are, proteins, fat, carbs, vitamins, whatever you may want to know," said DailyBurn CEO Andy Smith. "Users can then choose to share what they've eaten on Twitter or FourSquare, leading to social accountability."

While undoubtedly very cool, this also sounds like a nightmarish invention for an already diet obsessed society. Consider that about 45 million of us diet each year and we spend between $1 and 2 billion per year on weight loss programs. And we're still the fattest country in the world and getting fatter. Maybe it's the way we're attacking the problem. It's time to stop worrying so much about the exact calorie count and focus on the big picture: eating a whole foods diet with organic fruits, vegetable, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.


Fat Secret

This is a free calorie track counter. The app includes a multitude of features for users like a food diary, nutrition database, healthy recipes, exercise log, weight chart as well as a journal. The app features regular calorie intake for a person, as well as the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in a proper diet. There is also a monthly summary view, which highlights the total calories consumed by the person every day and averages every month. A chat community in FatSecret also allows users to connect with fellow users. Users can also access to several informational articles and tips on varied topics.


Expansion

If you were starting from scratch, then Foodvisor is certainly no more laborious than the alternatives. It offers a real shortcut for some things, but if you already have a store of meals in a health and fitness app, like MyFitnessPal, then it may be a tougher sell.

As Foodvisor has primarily learned from a French audience so far, there were U.K. barcodes and meals that it didn’t recognize, but that should change if the user base grows. The same thing applies to the U.S.

“We are trying to create a community of engaged users who will help us improve the product,” Tran said. “We don’t have 100 percent accuracy, but we are trying to make it easy and fun to diet and we also provide a unique option of personalized advice and coaching that you won’t find in other apps.”

Foodvisor offers a premium subscription service at $10 per month, or $60 for the year, which gives you access to chat to nutritionists and dietitians who will suggest a tailor-made diet for you. You can specify your preferred type of diet, whether it’s vegetarian, Keto, low carb, or something else and get personalized advice and recipes. A daily report arrives if you opt for the premium version, with advice on how to improve your diet and feedback on where you went right or wrong.

“It’s like having a nutritionist in your pocket,” Tran said.

The plan is that the basic, free app, which can scan and recognize foods, will stay free, and people who want a deeper level of advice and help can sign up for the subscription service.

The app is still being developed and improved. Certain things, such as adding multiple food you’ve already photographed, are not very intuitive right now. Tran said the company is listening to users and making tweaks all the time. They also plan to expand on what’s there.

“Gamification is one of the features we’re working on in the coming months.”

“Gamification is one of the features we’re working on in the coming months,” Tran said. “We think it could really improve our engagement and encourage people to keep going with their weight loss.”

They are also hoping to widen the social aspect and enable people to interact through the app and form social groups to support each other. There’s clearly some real potential for sharing photos of meals and recipes in Foodvisor, which people love to do. But having the complete nutritional breakdown alongside the picture adds an extra level for people who are consciously dieting.

You can try the app out for yourself today, though we would caution that it won’t work as well for you right now if you’re based in the U.S. or U.K. as it will if you’re based in France. If Foodvisor can build a devoted community, it has real potential to grow into an invaluable resource for healthier eating.

We’re going to continue testing it and try out the premium version, so stay tuned for more.


Lose It! Food Calorie Counter App

Lose It! is one of the most flexible health tracker apps out there. It presents your calories on the homepage using easy-to-understand charts and recommends a personalized calorie intake based on your attributes: height, weight, goals, and age. Lose It! features a comprehensive food database and offer easy means of adding new foods using a barcode scanner or a very simple manual process. It’s one of the best calorie counting apps with simple and user-friendly food diary. Lose It! is available on iOS and Android.


New Gadget Counts Calories - Fitness Trackers

We’ve all been there: seated at a bistro or trattoria, glass of wine in hand, gauging whether our urban walk-athon could offset that killer steak frites or pasta carbonara. And why resist? The calories don’t count on vacation, anyway.

GoBe, a wearable device just announced at the Consumer Electronics Showcase, begs to differ. Unlike most fitness trackers, it counts what you eat, as well as what you burn. Sure, you can manually record your intake with Apple Watch, FitBit, or Jawbone devices, but GoBe takes a different approach: it biometrically tracks your glucose levels, translating specific types of spikes into food groups (like sugars or carbohydrates), and uses the data to calculate exactly how many calories you’ve consumed in each sitting. It’s all about accuracy: with other products, you can tell an app you had half an order or fries when you probably ate closer to two-thirds, but GoBe doesn’t let you beat around the bush.

There’s just one caveat: the design. A tracker with this type of power doesn’t come in slim proportions even the second generation product, which starts shipping in June, looks bulky, with a roughly one-inch-wide, oval-shaped display that dwarfs small wrists. But where health-tracking gadgets are concerned, GoBe is unrivaled, and nearly guarantees you won’t pack on the pounds during binge-worthy vacations, as long as you heed its warnings.


There are many different types of bar codes and scannable images, each uses its own unique formulas and information to extract the data. The link you listed is not the same thing as a UPC and wouldn't work.

To follow a link to a web page you need to use a QR code. It will not import the nutritional information for use in the diary,

livingleanlivingclean: I want to make a barcode i can embed on a recipe on a website. When a user did the recipe and need to add it to myfitnesspal they can just scan my barcode.

DoubleUbea: Is it possible to find and create UPC barcodes for private use?

livingleanlivingclean: I want to make a barcode i can embed on a recipe on a website. When a user did the recipe and need to add it to myfitnesspal they can just scan my barcode.

DoubleUbea: Is it possible to find and create UPC barcodes for private use?

No, UPC codes are regulated and assigned. UPCs have a unique manufacture ID section and a unique product ID section.

The two smaller numbers on each side of the code are check sum characters to make sure the code was scanned properly.
The only gray area with UPC is with store brands, the code for Wegman's rye bread might be the same as Harris Teeter's rye bread. The stores probably use the same manufacture for the in-house labeled brand.

Thanks livingleanlivingclean, that would work it's Just as easy

You can't. This was a feature MFP apparently has contemplated, as it used to ask you if you wanted to make a new recipe public, and then it asked for all kinds of additional information, including directions, but nothing has ever come of it.

You can make new foods that you add public, or keep them private. Your recipes are all private. But if you log a recipe in your diary, anyone who has access to your diary can copy that meal, and then your recipe would show up in their recent foods until it ages out.

When you create a recipe it asks at the bottom of the page:

You can't. This was a feature MFP apparently has contemplated, as it used to ask you if you wanted to make a new recipe public, and then it asked for all kinds of additional information, including directions, but nothing has ever come of it.

You can make new foods that you add public, or keep them private. Your recipes are all private. But if you log a recipe in your diary, anyone who has access to your diary can copy that meal, and then your recipe would show up in their recent foods until it ages out.

I really dont want people to look in my diary. So just to be clear, there isn't a way for me to make a recipe and easily share it with the world?

You can't. This was a feature MFP apparently has contemplated, as it used to ask you if you wanted to make a new recipe public, and then it asked for all kinds of additional information, including directions, but nothing has ever come of it.

You can make new foods that you add public, or keep them private. Your recipes are all private. But if you log a recipe in your diary, anyone who has access to your diary can copy that meal, and then your recipe would show up in their recent foods until it ages out.

Sadly, MFP database doesn't allow easy access (that I know of) to food codes that link directly to add food unless you are approved for API use (I think? May not even be an option there). You could do a clunky workaround using the "copy address link", but it would only allow to view information, not add them to your diary.

If that doesn't appeal to you, you could either take a screenshot of your recipe nutrition info and post it on the website recipe page, or create a public food and give it a name your readers can easily distinguish (For example, [website name] [food name]) and give them the search word to search the database for it manually.

ETA: just tested the non-linear barcodes on the website you linked to (EAN and UPC) and they do work, but they already link to existing database entries. You could theoretically click "find a better match" and create a new food for it, but I'm not sure the new linking would stick globally. I don't think it would.


Top 5 FREE Nutrition Apps for Your Smartphone

Today, cell phones aren’t just devices we use for making calls. No, technology has gone far beyond that. For many, they’re our alarm clock, our daily planner, our radio, our weatherman, our personal computer, and much, much more.

So why can’t they also be an aid in eating healthier? The answer: they can! With the arrival of smartphones and the thousands of applications (apps) that are available for them it was only a matter of time before some health conscious techies put together some fabulous nutrition apps. And while there are TONS of great nutrition apps out there, here are [NL]’s top 5 FREE apps that delivered the most “bang without the buck.”

1. Fooducate by Fooducate, LTD. (www.fooducate.com)

This app made the top of our list for a multitude of reasons. For starters, it allows you to scan a product barcode to see product highlights, both good and bad. From there you can select better alternatives by comparing the nutrition information Fooducate analyzes and makes available to you including whether a product has excessive sugar, trans fat, additives and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, and confusing serving sizes. Better yet, the Fooducate app was developed by dietitians and concerned parents and has no influence from food manufacturers, supplement companies, specific diets, or any other agency.

Other Features…

  • available for iPhone and Android
  • barcode scanner
  • over 160,000 products analyzed and growing
  • analyzes both nutrition labels and ingredients lists of products

2. Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal, LLC (www.myfitnesspal.com)

This app is a close second with plenty of terrific features that make it much more than a simple calorie counter. It has the single largest food database of any Android app with over 750,000 foods and counting. It also allows for food and exercise entry so you can keep track of your progress in both areas. For food specifically, it calculates calories and all the major nutrients like fats, carbs, protein, sugar, fiber, and cholesterol and can even store and remember foods you’ve eaten for easy access.

Other Features…

  • available on iPhone and Android
  • barcode scanner
  • recipe calculator (enter your own recipes to get a nutrient analysis)

3. TheCarrot by Health Analytic Services, INC. (www.thecarrot.com)

This particular app is more of an “all-inclusive” type that helps you keep track of many health aspects but its nutrition “tracker” component is terrific as well, providing in-depth nutritional and caloric information. What really makes this app stand out is its ability to incorporate many areas of your life that effect your health and track them so you can reinforce good behaviors and make changes to ones that are effecting you negatively.

Other Features…

  • available on iPhone only
  • multiple “trackers” (exercise, medications, pregnancy, blood sugar, sleep, and more)
  • can enter notes and add photos to trackers for further reinforcement

4. Lose It! by FitNow (www.loseit.com)

Lose It! is an app that focuses on weight loss (as its name implies) but also provides you with the ability to set goals and establish daily calories budgets as well as record your food and exercise. Like the other apps, it also has the ability to analyze your food and track nutrients like fat, carbs, and protein. And if your food isn’t in their database, you can add new foods yourself.

Other Features…

  • available on the iPhone only
  • email or print detailed reports directly from you iPhone
  • works with or without a network connection
  • simple interface

5. Restaurant Nutrition by Foundation HealthCare Network (www.healthyandfitcommunities.com)

This one is a great guide when eating out and can help you choose healthier options in a pinch. Users can look up nutrition information from over 100 popular restaurants and over 15,000 food items. You can also journal your eating habits to track your food items, calories, and other nutritional information. Some reviews mention outdated menus and inaccurate calorie counts for some food items but as a general guide to help you choose better options, even at fast food restaurants, it does the job.

Other Features…

  • available on iPhone and Android
  • allows you to hide menu items with selected food allergies
  • map feature allows you to find nearby restaurants

WHATS YOUR APP-INION?

Know of some other great free nutrition apps out there? Have you tried some of the ones mentioned above? Let us know what you think and give us your personal review with a comment.