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Summer 2010 Table of Contents

Measuring Calories on the iPhone

Trying to lose weight? There’s an app for that

| From Commonwealth | By Amy Laskowski. Video by Robin Berghaus
Watch this video on YouTube

In the video, watch Larry Istrail (SAR’09,’10) describe PhotoCalorie, the free iPhone app he codeveloped.

Diets tend to begin when you recognize the harm of that late-night frosted doughnut routine. But it’s hard to remember what you had for breakfast, never mind dinner two nights ago.

Enter PhotoCalorie, a free iPhone app codeveloped by Larry Istrail (SAR’09,’10), a grad student studying anatomy and physiology. PhotoCalorie offers a good estimate of a food’s nutritional information, which is then stored in the user’s food journal, providing proof of what’s really gone down.

“People have told me that PhotoCalorie makes them more aware of what they’re eating,” Istrail says.

To start, users snap photos of the food. Then they type in each item, separated by commas, using size descriptions for things like side dishes. The app then supplies calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Next time at the table, users can click on the “My Food” tab to select items they have already entered.

There are other iPhone diet apps available, but PhotoCalorie’s advantage, Istrail says, is its simplicity. Other apps need as many as twenty-eight steps, he says, to enter the information. It will stay free for now because it becomes more accurate as more people use it, he says.

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