Cardiff man's app lets users pay closer attention to their diets

What if the food photos you post on social media benefited you more than just the "likes" and comments you receive? What if the pictures could help you determine just how healthy your diet is?

That's Bentley Adams' goal. The five-year Cardiff man created a free iPhone app called "Mealshare," which allows users to upload photos of their food, which are then rated by others on the app.

"The idea is ultimate simplicity," Adams said. "Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. People really know when you ask them if their meal was healthy. The awareness is really important."

Here’s how it works: You load the app, and the screen immediately instructs you to take a photo of your food. You can then enter more details, such as where it was made, what its ingredients are and how healthy you think it is. Other users can then rate your dish for healthiness, and you can pay an extra charge to have a credentialed "pro," or everyday dietitian, let you know exactly how good for you that meal was.

The user can then have the pro rate the meal, or he or she could schedule a Facetime conversation with the expert.

The pros work in private practices, rather than hospitals, explained Adams, who has worked as a personal trainer for 13 years. This can make them more affordable and relatable, Adams said.

"What we found in looking at this is people don't want to have to deal with looking through directories to find a dietitian," he said. "We take care of all of that."

The pros can then tell the users if their meal was healthy or how they should be eating to attain certain goals.

Adams said the app — which he soft-released last May and is currently only available for iPhones — is ideal for anyone curious about their health, whether they're looking to lose a few pounds or maintain their current body image.

He said it's an ideal concept because calorie counting alone can be restrictive and not the most accurate way to keep track of your diet. He also said that weight is not the most conclusive method to determine health, because someone could be overweight due to muscle mass.

"These traditional ways of dieting and counting calories make sense," Adams said. "But when you look at the failure rates, people get tired and wonder how much [these methods] will help in the long run. This is something that has a lot of promise in it because it's sustainable."

Mealshare is available for free on iPhone app store. Interactions with experts begin at $19.99 per month. For more information, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mealshare-app/id1269737619?mt=8

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