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Use Fooducate to Make Schooled Food Choices

Fooducate iPhone App Screen ShotThere’s a new free iPhone app that can help you simplify grocery shopping choices. Fooducate, created by Hemi Weingarten, is a super simple app that lets you know if a food is healthy or not using a letter grade. Scan a bar code on any food item, and the app will return that food’s grade, the number of calories per serving, and how many users like the food. Fooducate will also give you a few notes explaining that food’s letter grade, and suggest healthier items.

You can also easily scan a second food and compare the two. The less healthy food will be grayed out. For example, I compared a frozen Cedar Lane burrito with an Amy’s frozen burrito. The Amy’s burrito got a lower grade than the Cedar Lane version. While the app does provide some additional info about each food, like vitamins, controversial food additives, artificial food coloring and added sugars, I had a hard time understanding why the Cedar Lane Burrito did better. It seemed that Amy’s suffered from having a higher calorie count, although it contains organic ingredients.

According to app’s website, Fooducate analyzes foods based on their calories and ingredients, weighting “nutrients to limit” (saturated fat, sodium, sugar) against “food to encourage” (fiber). So, it doesn’t look like organic ingredients play a role into the grade.

Like almost any service that rates foods, fresh fruits and vegetables will get the highest grade, which we applaud. We also like that Fooducate is not affiliated with any food manufacturer or diet program. The database seems quite extensive, with over 160,000 products. It found all the items I tested, including Reed’s Crystallized Ginger Candy, Tazo Organic Chai and Truvia.

Don’t miss our interview with Fooducate’s founder, Hemi Weingarten:


 

May 9th, 2011

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