Take pictures of your food for science

100415-eating habits 2How many meals do you eat every day? The standard three: breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or are you more erratic – eating what you can, when you can, and often on the run?

A new study published in Cell Metabolism shows that a majority of people eat for 15 hours or longer every day. It also reveals that, for many, less than a quarter of the day’s calories are consumed before noon and over a third consumed after 6 p.m.

To come to their conclusions, scientists collected data from over 150 participants of a mobile research app over 3 weeks.

The simple mobile app was designed to collect, analyze, and interpret patterns of food intake in humans. Participants were instructed to send pictures of everything they consumed, even it was a bottle of water or a few bites of a cookie. Metadata (such as the location where food was consumed) was also recorded and timestamped.

Want to get involved and try it out for yourself?

The app is currently available for anyone willing to contribute his/her data to a Salk Institute IRB-approved study. The app will help record intake of food, water, beverages, and supplements and, after 2 weeks, reveal the user’s own “feedogram.”

Find out if you qualify and how to get the app here – App records our erratic eating habits, how you can get involved

Image Above: This image shows the mobile app from Satchidananda Panda’s group and its salient features are shown against a backdrop of an individualized “feedogram”–a raster plot of a person’s daily activity (black bars), light exposure (yellow bars), and diet intake (photos). Further behind are some commonly seen lunch menu items. Artwork: Jamie Simon, Salk Institute; Data: Shubhroz Gill and Satchidananda Panda


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