Jawbone UP adds smart food tracking, becomes our favourite health and fitness app

When Jawbone’s app is combined with one of the UP or UP24 fitness trackers, the killer combo nails sleep monitoring and step storing. But now Jawbone wants to become even more effective at tracking what we all eat too in a bid to become the ultimate quantified self brand.

Today Jawbone announced that the latest version of its app, version 3.2, has already been rolled out to its users and it boasts a revamped UI, personalised recommendations when it comes to what you should eat and when, as well as extra motivation to reach specific eating and weight loss goals.

After having a play around with the new version of the app in the office this afternoon, the most obvious change (and the one that’s likely to skyrocket Jawbone into everyone’s ‘top 10 apps they can’t live without’ list!) has to be that food-logging is now easier and more intuitive than ever.

If you’ve ever tried to log your food intake throughout the day before, you’ll know it’s a rather tedious process that’s really hard to keep up longer than about 7 hours (or 30 minutes if you’re a serial snacker). Jawbone seems to have recognised that everyone bores of adding in products and the whole idea of logging each and every morsel you eat just isn’t effective.

So instead, the Jawbone app now has a bunch of new elements, there’s a barcode-scanning feature, which promises to pick up on what you’ve got in your hand and calculate the calories from there. Photo-logging, so you can keep a ‘photo diary’ of your food. AND (this is the one we’re most excited about), the app has teamed up with Foursquare to figure out which restaurants, cafes and other random food establishments are nearby. Click on a restaurant if you’ve eaten there or a cafe if you’ve just grabbed a sandwich, and you can then browse through its menu to pick out what you’ve just eaten. We had a browse through the app from our office on Bermondsey Street in London and saw a huge mixture of chain restaurants, as well as more unusual one-off spots, so we imagine if you’re based in a city you could go just about anywhere and Jawbone could tot up your calories for you. According to Slashgear, even if you’re somewhere a little less cosmopolitan you can input nutritional information and this crowdsourced data is then fed back into the app, making it more useful for everyone over time. This whole tie-up with Foursquare makes eating out so much easier, in the past you’d have to pick through your food and add each ingredient in separately, which is irritating and likely to make you feel angry and fed-up and not at all motivated.

It’s also worth noting the new version of the app now has a waterlogger, a feature that lets you clock up how much you’ve had to drink throughout the day. Just like Jawbone’s coffee app, it’s a fairly simple addition, but does give you more visibility about how much more water you should really be guzzling each day.

And finally, Jawbone isn’t just going to be allowing you to input your meals in new ways, but it’ll rate them too with its own ‘Food Score’. It takes the faff out of thinking about whether a meal is really that good for you or not and rates what you’ve eaten with a simple number and colour codes it based on nutritional values. This may seem a little too arbitrary and basic for some users, but for those who just want a an easy solution it could be an ideal way of quickly gauging what you eat when you’re in a rush.

Although many other apps, like MyFitnessPal, already have comprehensive databases and advanced food-logging techniques, the Jawbone UP app is the first to add these awesome new features to its already very intuitive and accessible app experience that also logs your steps, workouts and sleep. Could this make Jawbone the ultimate health and fitness app? We think so.

We’ll be testing out Jawbone’s new food-logging features over the next few days, and we’ll let you know whether they’re really as exciting and useful as they look at first glance…





Becca Caddy

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