Taking Photos of Food Helps Lead to Weight Loss & More

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People monitoring their diets for weight management, weight loss and health-related issues, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, now have the aid of a $1.99 iPhone application named diet SNAPS.

I've been using dietSNAPS for about a week and LOVE this app. It's brilliant! I track everything that I eat or drink and even my exercise. I've virtually stopped snacking. Plus, it's so easy to use and it's FAST, which with my bush schedule I need…

People monitoring their diets for weight management, weight loss and health-related issues, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, now have the aid of a $1.99 iPhone application named dietSNAPS.

dietSNAPS, developed by sisters Tracey Bleeden and Laurie Spitz, simplifies the recording of each meal by allowing the user to take pictures and document each meal with the date, time of day, type of meal, and more. Users can then e-mail the information to their trainer, dietician, doctor, diet buddy or anyone they choose.

A 2008 study ("Think before you eat: photographic food diaries as intervention tools to change dietary decision making and attitudes" by Lynda Zepeda and David Deal, Department of Consumer Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison) shows that participants who took photos of their meals as part of a food behavior program logged more effective results than using written diaries alone.

Zepeda and Deal took 43 participants who already had healthy eating habits and asked them to record what they ate for a week in words and as pictures.

The participants said photo diaries helped more than written diaries. The photos not only provided visual documentation of what they ate, but made participants think about what they were going to eat before taking a picture of their meal. Because written diaries are completed after the meal is consumed, they aren't seen as preventative.

While seeing a nutritionist at the end of last year, Bleeden was getting fed up with logging every meal, especially when going out to dinner with friends. Not wanting to take time from her friends and their dining experience, she started taking photos with her iPhone and logging the written information later in the evening. Bleeden discovered what those in the study have found, that taking pictures of what one eats prior to a meal really did have a positive effect on her choices. After looking for and discovering that there were no iPhone apps for logging journal entries and storing multiple photos, she realized there was a need and developed dietSNAPS.

"I'm amazed by all of the positive feedback," said Tracey Bleeden. "We created dietSNAPS as a weight loss tool, but never realized how many different types of users it was suited to or how many people would use it as a tool to simply eat healthier and understand their eating habits."

"Whether it is simply a visual obsession of recording what we eat, or a way to document what we eat, there is much more here than meets the eye," said Laurie Spitz.

"I've been using dietSNAPS for about a week and LOVE this app. It's brilliant! I track everything that I eat or drink and even my exercise. I've virtually stopped snacking. Plus, it's so easy to use and it's FAST, which with my bush schedule I need…" wrote Lillith99, one of the first users to comment and rate (five stars) dietSNAPS.

"I'm a pretty healthy eater," logged Kvetching Yogi, "but I know I'm a snacker. So I thought this would be a good way to be a little more accountable. After a few days, it was quite obvious that I was always reaching for something crunchy, especially while at the computer surfing or watching TV. dietSNAPS is a great tool to make you a little more accountable for what we put in our bodies without really realizing it."

appsSNAPS, LLC is the parent company of dietSNAPS and is currently working on other versions of the application. View http://www.dietSNAPS .com for additional information or the iTunes store (itunes.apple.com/app/dietSNAPS) for user reviews. You can also find dietSNAPS on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dietSNAPS.

Kevin Deany (kdeany(at)lake-effect(dot)com)
or Thomas Figel (tfigel(at)lake-effect(dot)com)
Tel. 312/223-9536

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Kevin Deany
appsSNAPS, LLC
312-223-9536 ext. 304
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