A free mobile application developed by researchers at The George Institute and Northwestern University could be like having a nutritionist by your side at the grocery store. Let go of that Eggo and try having a whole-grain, lower carbohydrate alternative. This is basically the idea being delivered to those who will be taking advantage of the app, known as FoodSwitch. News-Medical recently gathered information on the new, unique tool. FoodSwitch is available to Apple and Android customers via the App Store and Google Play.
This innovative approach to technology and better health uses crowdsource information on new and changing food within the U.S. food supply to constantly update the already over 268,000 product data base in real time. Doctor Mark Huffman, who is a Norwegian cardiologist and an associate professor of preventative medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, collaborated on FoodSwitch and truly believes in the app.
“FoodSwitch is unique in that users don’t have to hunt for healthier alternatives. They’re all listed in the app.”
Developers hope to keep track of what is in the global food supply, along with how healthy these foods are by doing what no other nutrition phone app seems to be and relying on crowdsourcing. But how does the app actually function? Simple. Users will tap on the screen to scan in packaged food barcodes. Once this is done, they will see a nutritional rating with a display informing them of healthier alternatives. How healthy these foods are will be given as an easy-to-understand Health Star Rating. Scoring will be between 0.5 stars (unhealthy) and five stars (healthy). If you’re wondering how the developers are configuring these ratings, they have also explained that. A scientific algorithm will weigh the impact of different nutrients to your health.
Also provided to FoodSwitch users will be a breakdown of the sugar, salt, and saturated and other fats, while giving an adult’s daily intake of each. Such displays will be in the form of red, yellow, and green traffic light icons. Seeing foods with few stars and multiple red lights will signal to users that the food is high in certain fats, sugars, or salts, thereby suggesting it as an unhealthy option. They will be able to compare products in the same food category in an effort to determine which food is the healthy choice. Which one users ultimately decide to stick in their carts and baskets will be between them and the cashier.
FoodSwitch has already seen a successful launch in Australia, China, New Zealand, United Kingdom, India, Hong Kong, and South Africa. More information about the app can be found on The George Institute‘s website.