Meal Scan counts calories for you

Faith Merino · April 5, 2011 · Short URL:

Like the shake-weight before it, easy weight-loss solutions abound. Is Meal Scan too easy?

It sounds too good to be true. Because it is.

Health and fitness startup DailyBurn on Tuesday announced the launch of Meal Snap, a deceptively simple one-step app for counting calories. This may be the last ditch effort of the user who is just now falling off the “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year!” New Years Resolution wagon. The user simply snaps a picture with his/her iPhone camera of the meal or snack, and Meal Snap returns a range of calories for that food item—a wide range of calories. Note the picture to the left. A handful of cashews: could be 150 calories, could be 600 calories, nobody knows! As anyone who has ever seriously counted calories before knows: accuracy is key.

But I have to admit, the idea is cool, and the process is pretty straightforward. The user snaps a picture, which is uploaded to the Meal Snap database, where it is identified (by a team of bored worker bees), and the app sends a (wide) calorie range back to the user within minutes.

But it seems like if there was a way to snap a picture of a food item and suddenly know how many calories it has, someone would’ve done it a long time ago. We’re a lazy people, but our ingenuity for protecting our lazy lifestyle knows no bounds.

Nevertheless, the serious dieter may find a few features appealing, such as the photo sharing option, which lets users share their meal photos with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare. Additionally, the app can be used as a food diary, allowing the user to review their photo log and keep track of their calories consumed. That might just make it worth the $2.99 that the app is going for on iTunes.

"We've heard from members over the years that calorie counting can be time consuming and harder for some of our users to sustain over time," said Andy Smith, CEO, Daily Burn, Inc, in a prepared statement. "We knew we had to come up with a solution—one that provides people the simplest way possible for them to become aware of what they put into their body and understand their daily consumption. Meal Snap is the ultimate in simplicity.”

Meal Snap follows on the heels of FoodScanner, a similar nutrition app released by DailyBurn that lets users scan the barcode of a packaged food item to get a full list of nutrition facts on the item—a perfect app for the dieter who doesn’t want to be bothered with turning a box around. Other apps released by DailyBurn include Calorie, Workout, and Fitness Companion, and Push-Up Wars.

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DailyBurn is the premier fitness tracking social network.  We help people meet their health and fitness goals by finding workout programs, tracking food and nutrition, and connecting them with others for motivation.