Hotline Dieting: Text This Number to See Your Daily Calorie Count and Nutrition Information
In the age of Periscope, where you can livestream your life to strangers, and Twitter, where you can measure cultural movements by their trending strength, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the latest addition to dieting involves texting.
That’s where software engineer Georges Duverger comes in.
Duverger, who is also the creator of Fitmeal, a computer program designed to teach itself about a user’s diet over time — and all you have to do is text a dedicated number with things you’ve eaten, like a food journal. Each entry, like “small coffee and banana muffin,” for example, yields information in calorie count, fat content, and carbohydrate and protein levels.
The app is also designed to allow users to be as specific or vague as they like, which means you can choose to text an exact amount of food, like “one slice of cheese,” or general food items, like “one ham and cheese sandwich.”
“A machine learning algorithm is used to make that abstraction,” Duverger told Motherboard. For example, “it looks at a lot of meals online, tries to figure out all the meals that have cheese in them, and then how much cheese is usually meant by a ‘slice.’”
The app pulls data from multiple online sources, including a USDA nutrition database, but the accuracy level varies with each entry — something that Duverger is expecting to change over time, as the app receives more data and users provide feedback.
If you’re curious, that number is 646-480-6623.