Many food journal apps allow users to snap photos of food or manually enter items to keep track of their diet.
These apps, however, can require a considerable amount of effort to accurately log the right amount of calories for each meal.
Fitness band maker Jawbone is introducing a significant update to its app that makes it much easier to add food items to your log, including a database of calories for specific dishes at local and chain restaurants. The Jawbone 3.2 update is available for iPhone starting Wednesday.
With the UP 3.2 update, Jawbone’s app will automatically store the foods you eat on a regular basis and present them in a list when you navigate to the food tracking portion of the app.
The older version of the app laid out separate food categories, which means the user would have to tap a category such as meats and then choose what he or she had eaten. Now, the items you eat most frequently will show up as soon as you go to log your food.
The new Common Pairings feature also make it easier to quickly log your meals by adding side dishes that usually accompany a main dish underneath it. For example, if you add that you ate eggs, the app could list bacon or toast underneath it.
Another major addition is Jawbone’s new database of restaurants menus. Jawbone will use your location to automatically pull up nearby restaurants when you go to log your food. So, if you’re eating at a Chipotle you can open the app, tap Chipotle, and choose the menu item you just ordered. The app will automatically add the calories in that dish to your log.
If you’re eating at a local restaurant, you can choose to add these calories manually. Once you add that calorie information, the app saves it so that others in the area can log it when they eat at the same restaurant. Jawbone says that 200,000 local restaurants from all over the U.S. are listed in the app.
One of the biggest problems facing most nutrition apps is that they don’t really account for a wide range of scenarios. Some apps make it easy to log food by scanning the barcode on a package, but they don’t have the same experience when it comes to adding nutritional information for restaurant dishes.
If Jawbone’s app update works exactly the way the company promises, it may have very well solved that problem.
Jawbone is also adding a Food Score to its nutrition tracker that rates a dish depending on how many healthy nutrients contains, and you can also set weight goal as well.
Jawbone says that it eventually wants to get to the point where logging food is completely automated, requiring no effort from the user whatsoever.
The company is partnering with food delivery app Munchery, which just launched in Seattle on Tuesday, to take a first step toward this goal. When you order a meal through Munchery, the calories in that dish are automatically added to your food journal.
According to Jawbone, the app’s Insights engine is a large part of its success. With the 3.2 update, Jawbone just redesigned these tips with food-specific bits of advice based on your diet and lifestyle. Travis Bogard, Jawbone’s vice president of product management and strategy, emphasised how important it is that the app isn’t restrictive when it comes to dieting, but encouraging.
“You don’t want something coming along and saying don’t eat cake,” Bogard said to Business Insider. “What you really wanna see is something that steps backs and starts to see patterns as they evolve.”