A Food Tracker Worse than a Nagging Spouse

A Food Tracker Worse than a Nagging Spouse

Imagine how you’d respond to an app that continuously lets you know that the pizza you just gobbled up adds so many calories and the only way you can burn them off is to run a few miles more or skip a few meals during the rest of the day. To the inherent foodie, things couldn’t get any worse, complaining as they already do about the nagging spouse who wants you healthy.

A French start-up seems to be doing it like none else before with over two million app downloads since it began operations nearly two years ago. The company has now raised $4.5 million in funding through a round led by Agrinnovation, a unique fund that has exclusive access and first commercial rights to invest in IP developed in Israel, says a report published in TechCrunch.com last week.

The app, currently available for download both on Google Play Store and Apple Store, calculates the distance between one’s place and the phone using auto-focus data of the camera. Thereafter, it assesses the area occupied by each item on the food plate and then detects the food type and the weight of each item.

The service, currently available in select countries including the United States, has drawn up plans to expand the coverage, which essentially means adding the food types from the rest of the world so that it can then use deep learning to enable image recognition of what a user’s getting ready to gobble down from the plate.

And the purpose of the food app? It is quite simply aiming to log everything that one eats so that by studying the eating pattern, one can lose weight through a diet or via burning calories. Of course, one must add data to one’s profile by capturing a photo of the plate before one eats the food! So, maybe it isn’t as nagging as the spouse can be as all one needs to when cheating is to not log in data.

In fact, the company said some months ago after raising its early stage investment of $1.5 million that unlike the traditional nutrition tracking apps that get too demanding, the Foodvisor app makes things simple for users by doing all the auto-calculations once the image of the food plate has been taken and uploaded.

The app also provides users with the option of manually changing data in case the app’s machine learning goes awry. In fact, this is one way that the company aims to add to its already swelling database of foods that people eat across countries and continents.

Once the meal is uploaded and consumed, the app would provide a detailed list of calories, proteins, carbs, fats and other forms of nutrients that went into the body. Thereafter, these data sets can be used to create nutrition goals or even activity-based goals for a longer time duration with the App constantly working in the background to measure progress and highlight challenges.

The company has four language preferences on the app, viz., English, French, German and Spanish with cuisine from Europe and the United States already available on the database. Of course, one needs to fork out between $5 to $10 for a premium subscription each month that allows users to gather analysis and diet plans and get to speak to registered dieticians at the other end.

Given that the WHO reported that global obesity tripled between 1975 and 2016,  looks like there is a need for some constant nagging from one’s smartphone, which anyway has become a closer companion than the closest one at home!

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