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My name is Neville Pettersson and Dietopia is my website. I’m a qualified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

I am married with 2 kids and am very passionate about making the world a healthier place, one article at a time. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.

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How Does It Work

The PlateMate app in both cases, analyzes the nutrients on a plate of food. In the case of the Harvard app, with the help of Amazon Mechanical Turk, as well as the aggregated opinions of experts and peers, a photo of a meal can be analyzed in terms of the available protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calories. In the case of the SweetBee app, users are provided photos of food, which they can then mix and match to create a virtual plate. A user can then use this information in order to create a meal that has just the right amount of nutrients.


The PlateMate app is currently being developed and was created by Harvard students. They presented their paper at a scientific conference, and their work was picked up by major newspapers and magazines. The Plate Mate app by SweetBee is created by Bayer, a Belgian pharmaceutical company.


The Harvard app is not yet publicly available, but information about it can be viewed here. The website is housed under the Harvard Research group, which also looks at different social and environmental issues that can be addressed by science.

The Bayer app is available for download and more information can be viewed at the Bayer SweetBee site.

Pros and Cons

In the case of both apps, users can keep track of their food and obtain information on food even when they are on the go. This can be helpful if they are eating out and are not in charge of preparing their food. However, this app cannot determine if a recipe contains calories or fats if you did not prepare it yourself. For example, some restaurants might put butter in their sauces, and although you cannot taste it outright, it will be there to enhance the flavor and add some fats. The app will not be able to detect this 100% of the time.

The Harvard app also ran into some problems with crowdsourcing, since some evaluators were not able to correctly identify foods from other cultures. This could lead to some problems in evaluating the nutritional content of the food and storing that information in the long term.

Continued below....

PlateMate App

PlateMate App Logo



Harvard Version

In Development

SweetBee Version

ITunes for iPad


Green Thumbs Up

According to fitness experts, keeping a food diary is essential to having a healthier lifestyle. A food diary allows you to keep track of the food that you eat and see if you are getting the nutrients your body needs, as you keep away from foods that will damage your body. An app recently developed by Harvard students allows you to take photos of your food and determine how nutritious it is. An app of the same name is already available, courtesy of SweetBee by Bayer. The app, Platemate, is available online. Is it effective? What can it do?

App Overview

Platemate is an app that analyzes meal portions and content, and then provides information on nutrition and the number of calories in the meal. There are actually two apps that bear the name: one is still in development and is pioneered by several Harvard students, while the other refers to an app made by pharmaceutical giant Bayer, under its SweetBee line of products.

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Social Media

Although the Harvard project has yet to gain social media leverage, it is already widely covered in the popular press. On the other hand, the SweetBee by Bayer app has some social media following: a Facebook page on diabetes, which has over 300 likes, regularly provides information on the app.


The Sweetbee Plate Mate is available for $8.99 on the Apple store. On the other hand, the Harvard app has not yet been released.