Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Paula Wesson, Managing Editor
Fooducate, Free, Apple and Android devices
What it is:
Fooducate app accesses your camera to scan the barcode on a food label. The app then provides the nutritional information and ingredient list, which you probably have if you have the barcode. The main feature, though, is that every food receives a grade from A to D and an explanation for the grade.
For example, Lipton iced tea, available in the Falcon’s Nest, received a “D” grade because it contained eight teaspoons of sugar, no antioxidants, and EDTA which is (supposedly) toxic. The app then recommended substitutes, including Lipton’s Pure Leaf iced tea (grade “B”), also available in the Falcon’s Nest.
In addition, you can use Fooducate to track what you’ve eaten and how your weight changes. You can also select from preset goals like “avoid GMOs,” “follow paleo diet,” “lower cholesterol levels,” and “eat healthy while pregnant.”
If you don’t have the barcode, you can search for things, which is helpful for fresh produce or trying to estimate how many calories are in a slice of the cafeteria pizza.
Even if you have the food label, Fooducate supplies you with information you may not have otherwise known. In the Lipton tea example, you probably did not know that EDTA might be toxic.
On the other hand, Fooducate claims that EDTA is toxic, while it may not actually be. It is allowed in food because it is “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS. In addition to food, it is added to medicines and is used to treat lead poisoning. There are many other GRAS ingredients that Fooducate gives a negative grade.
Another problem is that this app does not recognize all barcodes. Sometimes there is no item found for a barcode and other times it finds the wrong item.
Also, there’s no information on the app’s developers. Is there a dietitian, doctor, or other health expert behind it? Or is there just some guy who likes Lipton’s Pure Leaf better than Lipton’s regular iced tea?