Skip to main content

Love Taking Take Food Pics? This App Counts the Calories

Diet tracking has always been the most tedious part of using any health or fitness app. Logging everything you eat or drink can quickly become tiresome, but a new beta feature in the Lose It! app looks to make the process less of a chore, by identifying photos of what you're consuming. I took it for a quick spin to see how well it works.

The basic Lose It app is free, but a premium version ($39.99 per year) will provide you with additional insights into your eating habits, and give you shopping lists, meal plans, and additional motivational tools. Snap It! beta, which is offered as part of the basic app, lets you take photos of what you're eating, and add it to your daily diet plan. It's a nice feature not currently offered by either Fitbit or MapMyFitness, but after testing it out, I found that it encounters some of the same issues as competing apps.

After taking a photo of the food in question, the app first gives you a number of suggestions as to what it could be. I took pictures of a variety of foodstuffs, with mixed success.

The suggestions for a photo of an apple included Lemon, Applesauce, Smoothie, and Sauce, in addition to Apple. However, Snap It! was able to identify a bowl of ham as such, although it also gave options including Chicken, Ravioli, and Cake. It also identified pizza, pasta, and a plate of oysters, but got tripped up on shrimp.

MORE: Best Workout Apps

Snap It! also had trouble with a bowl of sliced mushrooms: the suggestions included such varied fare as oysters, chicken, soft serve, granola, soup, cake, and mussels. Fortunately, you can manually add what it is you photographed.

After you pick the correct option, you're then brought to a screen where you have to specify what kind of apple you selected. This is the same sort of mind-numbing list you get with other diet-tracking apps—it scrolls on for pages and pages—and where most of them lose me. After selecting the appropriate apple, I then had to specify if I ate a single apple, or a certain weight—such as 5 ounces—before I could add it to the list of things I consumed.

Ultimately, while it was nice be able to add photos of my food, it's the steps afterward that Lose It needs to chew on some more.