Fooducate – app review

 

screen shot of a sample Fooducate product page.

screen shot of a sample Fooducate product page.

Fooducate was started as a website by Hemi Weingarten, a California father of three, who was having trouble making healthy choices at the grocery store:

 “So many products, so many health claims, nutrients, ingredients, and so many promises by manufacturers….  I found it very difficult to make rational, and informed decisions for a task as simple as putting groceries into my shopping cart.”

Fooducate assigns a letter grade from A to D to a variety of foods, based on an algorithm that uses information from the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list.  Less processed, nutrient dense foods get the highest grades.  This means that whole foods will score better than processed foods that have few nutrients, but use fortification to look healthier.

Fooducate’s algorithms add points for certain nutrients to encourage fiber, calcium, and iron intake.  It subtracts points for nutrients that should be limited such as, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.  Products that undergo minimal processing and are closest to their truest form will rate higher. Generally foods will rank higher if they are organic or non GMO.

app interface

app interface

Fooducate has two different interfaces.  The website allows you to browse foods and read posted articles, but does not have the ability to track and log foods. Those features are only available on the app, where you can keep a food journal by either scanning the barcode of products or typing and searching for them in the database. The app will also keep track of specific nutrient intake such as: carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber and sodium.

When you first log into the app, you have the ability to set goals including weight loss and tracking those specific nutrients I previously mentioned. Once a calorie or nutrient goal is in place the Health Tracker will calculate the calories burned and subtract from the daily calorie goal, showing how many calories are left after recording foods.

The app for tracking foods also allows you to create a shopping list, with the ability to export it.  You can also choose to get daily food tips; the most recent ones were referred to the Velveeta recall and nitrates in hotdogs.

Pros:

  • Registered Dietitians are a part of managing the information
  • Simple to navigate
  • Set daily reminders to record your daily intake easily share with friends and family via email, text, Facebook and Twitter
  • Focuses on the nutrient quality of foods, discouraging highly processed products
  • Easy option of scanning product barcodes to search database
  • No advertisements
  • Database contains over 200,000 products

Cons:

  • User added information which could contain errors
  • No indication of how calorie recommendations are calculated
  • Weekly weight loss of greater than 2 pounds is an option when calculating a weight loss goal (weight loss greater than 2 pounds per week is not recommended)
  • Does not provide a daily meal plan

Who would benefit from use?

Fooducate is right for anyone who is having difficulty decoding food labels and making healthy choices, with the overwhelming number of choices available at the grocery store. Fooducate does encourage people to eat nutritious, minimally processed foods, and makes decision making a little easier. Fooducate is for those who already know how to eat a balanced diet but are now looking at the quality of the foods they consume.

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