George Clinical’s FoodSwitch App Helping Users Make the Right Food Choices
By Melinda Cafferty
Food corporations and grocery chains are rolling out the carpet to meet the consumer demand for more choices. This means that the average consumer looking at just one shelf for one particular type of food will drown in a sea of choices. Everyone has a preference, but when it comes to those choices, which foods are the healthiest options? While it’s important to read labels – there’s simply no way a shopper has time to read every label – believe me, I’ve tried and it took many, many hours each grocery trip, but keep in mind that new products are added to shelves all the time.
Enter: The FoodSwitch App
FoodSwitch is an innovative app that makes better food choices as easy and quick as glancing at your Smartphone. There are too many foods loaded with processed sodium, bad fats, carbs/calories, sugar, gluten and more. The idea behind FoodSwitch is that if people could just perform quick, healthy swaps, one product at at time, then over time they will have kept sugar, salt and fat from filling their plates and burdening their bodies. This is probably one of the best apps for weight loss because it gets to the crux of the problem: that initial food choice in the store. Think about it: diabetes, heart disease and obesity begin with these daily choices that seem insignificant at the time.
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How does one figure out the unhealthy content and find better options? Just by “scanning” the product barcode with their phone camera. FoodSwitch uses a colored traffic light labeling system to signpost total fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt using a high (red), medium (yellow), or low (green) indicator. Users can also switch to a star-ranking view. The Health Star Rating score algorithm takes into account a range of important general health factors like saturated fat, sugars, salt, energy, protein, dietary fiber, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes (FVNL) content, and for some products, calcium.
Some of the featured filters include: SaltSwitch, EnergySwitch, FatSwitch, SugarSwitch or GlutenSwitch. FoodSwitch Classic is for overall health. Users can also add items to shopping lists, share with friends, make the shopping list ready for the next trip, export and social media share.
By the way, FoodSwitch App is totally free and works on Androids and Apple phones in the UK, South Africa, China, India, Australia and New Zealand. A U.S. based app is now in development. Bupa and The George Institute for Global Health parent company of George Clinical joined forces to develop FoodSwitch as part of the Healthy Foods Initiative: helping Australians to make healthier food choices.”
The Best Thing About FoodSwitch?
This app doesn’t just alert you to unwanted food ingredients – it ultimately helps you make “the switch.” The healthy switch, that is. It conveniently provides the healthier substitutes right on your Smartphone, removing all the guesswork about what to place in your cart instead.
The filters provide a list of healthier choices based on overall nutrition and will be relevant to whichever filter you are using. For instance, if you are using the SugarSwitch filter, then the healthy swaps will be ranked, based on lower sugar content. Likewise, the GlutenSwitch, will show alternative items based on zero-to-little gluten.
Here’s an example:
This filter helps people living with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance to identify gluten-free products.
|Amber||Likely gluten-free. This product is not marketed as gluten free but has no gluten-containing ingredients listed on the label.|
|Green||Gluten-free. This product is reported as gluten free by the manufacturer and/or is naturally gluten free. Please check the label.|
|Grey||Unknown. This product has not yet been classified as gluten free or not and its gluten status is unknown.|
It also gives you gluten-free alternatives listed in order of how healthy they are.
This app works from a large, independent database, but users are able to upload products to the database by taking three photographs of the food product. Pretty nifty, eh?
Melinda Cafferty writes for Natural Blaze