Is changing the way we eat as simple as using an app? Could a reminder of past eating experiences change our dining future? The developers of a food memory app seem to think that it’s possible. However, the app seems to be a bit flawed and may or may not have the ability to work long-term.
About the “Food Memory” App
The food memory app was created by the University of Liverpool and had a simple concept that was supposed to make people think twice about their food choices. Volunteers in the study were asked to use the app to take pictures of the food they eat and after eating make notes about how full they were, if they finished the meal, etc. Before eating another meal, the volunteers were asked to look back over previous meals of the day to see what they’d already eaten.
Only 12 volunteers were used in the study and of those volunteers 6 lost 2.2 pounds or more. On average, the volunteers lost 3.3 pounds over a four week period. While those behind the research feel that the app does raise awareness, they also feel that the study was too small to make any real estimates as to whether or not the app would work. They also mentioned that the app needed more details.
How the App Could Be Improved
One of the biggest problems with this app is that it doesn’t teach the user anything. It’s one thing to look at a picture of food, or see several pictures totaling the amount of food eaten that day, but what about nutrition? If a user doesn’t understand nutrition, they may look over their meals and think they haven’t eaten that much. While the food quantity may be small, the calories and fat can be extremely high. Some people might even get discouraged and attempt to eat less, but not change the foods they eat, and nutritionally starve themselves. The app needs to focus more on nutrition and possibly more on the emotional feelings the person encountered before and after the meal.
Why It May or May Not Work Long-Term
One of the biggest reasons this app may not work in the long-term is it involves too much work on the user’s part. Taking pictures at each meal and answering questions is going to get old. One of the number one reasons people fail diets is the work involved. If the app were changed to encourage nutritional eating, it would teach users information that they could apply to their every day life so they they could eat healthier.
The food memory app is a great start, but there needs to be more involved than just pictures. The app could go a long way if it worked toward teaching users about the nutrition of the foods they eat, whether cooked at home or delivered from services like TastyKhana. Otherwise, it’s hard to see how this app would be useful for long-term weight loss.