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New app bets that you'll eat better if you know everyone is watching
Are you a mindless eater who is better at updating your Flickr page than tracking your calories? Then the new iPhone app, The Eatery, might be the app de jour for you. The nearly one-year-old San Francisco start up, Massive Health, has launched a social app that encourages users to photograph and share everything they eat.
The free app records the amount, time and photo of your food and posts it to Facebook so that you and your friends can rate your cuisine choices -- and thus encourage you to eat better since your food is on display for scrutiny by all.
This app is on the more social end of the nutritional spectrum from the dozens of calorie counting apps available for mobile device, such as Lose It and Calorie Tracker.
Massive Health CEO Sutha Kamal created this app with the concept in mind that self-awareness sometimes enough for people to make better choices.
"It's not helpful to know that your favorite brownies have 400 or 600 calories," Kamal said, in a statement. "What's helpful is discovering that you're more vulnerable to them in the late afternoon."
Earlier this year, Massive Health raised $2.25 million in seed funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Greylock Partners' Discovery Fund and others.
The focus of Massive Health is to create apps that will aid people suffering from diseases such as diabetes, through social and game methods.
How the app works
Once you download the app to your iPhone, you are asked about any dietary restrictions you have such as gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian, etc.
Then you link the app to your Facebook and you are able to instantly start uploading a picture of what you are eating now, the portion size and whether you would rate it a healthy option or a not healthy option.
Once your picture and stats are uploaded other friends are able to comment and rate your plate to either reinforce your good choice or rate and comment that you made a poor choice.
The app also allows you to see trends in your eating throughout the week and other periods of time.
Maybe make the worse choices after 6 p.m. or perhaps you are lacking color in your diet -- you can see whats gone in your body and make changes for the better.
Funders have a taste for food sites
This year, everyone has been cooking up food-based websites and applications that bring more social into the eating scene. In January, the food photo sharing site Foodspotting rounded up $3 million for its Series A funding.
A month later, the small social meeting startup Spoondate recieved funding from the startup incubator group 500 Startups. And and as the warm days of summer enetered, Flip camera creator John Kapalan landed $10 million for a grilled cheese chain restaurant with iPhone integration in the ordering system, The Melt.
It seems that venure capital groups can't get enough of the flavorful startups this year. Ecommerce and flashsale sites are even seeing the potential in adding food-centric extensions, including the GIlt Taste addition that rolled out in May, allowing online shoppers to find high-end food that fits their taste.
The trend of catering to tastebuds isn't loosing steam anytime soon, especially with all those glossy photos of perfectly poised food that no one seems to get tired of clicking through.
Why The Eatery more fun than functional
A picture may be worth a thousand words but can't depict 1,000 calories so well. While, this app may help spot trends and stay accountable with judging friends, its nearly impossible to accurately determine the true health based on a picture.
Salads dressing, cheese, condiments and countless other elements are caloric and hidden from the eye of the camera so you could have color-rich plates of high calorie or fat food and onlookers may rate that its great.
Much like the popular, Eat This, Not That series, foods could look similar but are hiding pounds of sodium and saturated fat that you didn't know about.
This is a better tool for people aware of health and nutrition basics that has informed friends that can hold them accountable for their quest to cut out the meat or eat more salads or limit processed foods. Essentially it's a fun tool in the tightening belt of health and weight loss, but by no means it this app qualified to track your health.
Since I have some very health-conscious Facebook buddies that love to judge, I might consider using this app to keep me honest for my New Year's resolutions and flogging on a public forum to get in fighting shape.
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