Fooducate App for Diabetes

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • For someone with diabetes, good nutrition has so many benefits. But, for many people with diabetes, food is a cultural or family experience, which is not steeped in the science of food.  

     

    A year ago, I started to play with a food app called Fooducate. The objective of Fooducate is give different types and brands of food a letter grade. The letter grade is based on information provided by an algorithm that uses published nutrient facts and ingredient list from the product package. The algorithm rewards foods with the highest grades that minimally processed and nutrient dense. Food scores also take into account if the food has added nutrients, which lowers the grade value. It also can offer information on foods that contain GMOs and also let’s you designate food allergies, in which case I selected gluten and soy, and the app reminds me if an item contains any of the allergies in my profile.

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    The app's goal is to steer shoppers to foods that are minimally processed, real foods that are naturally high in nutrients and antioxidants.  For example, Fooducate rated Trader Joe’s ground organic ground beef with a C- because the beef is too high in fat.  However, I love the B+ on Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack.  While the ingredients are very good, they lowered the grade because the snack can lead to overconsumption. (I can vouch for that and it’s a gentle reminder to eat a balanced diet.)

     

    There is even a control that signals if you drive near the supermarket. It reminds you to log your food shopping or, if you are like me and need prompts, it tells the last time you logged in. Once you are in the grocery store, there is a barcode reader, which lets you scan the barcode on the food item and it will tell you its "value" before you even put it in the cart.  If the value is low, it will suggest alternatives. 

     

    Full Disclosure: Fooducate is in partnership with Sanofi pharmaceutical and I have a consulting contract with Sanofi.  For last year, I have played with the app and debated whether to blog what I felt was a very worthy tool or to let myself sit this one out.  In the end, I haven’t seen much written about it, and I felt strongly that it needs to have more consideration as a meaningful tool, so this is my unbiased opinion, but I’m grateful that I learned about it through my Sanofi connection.

Published On: January 21, 2014