Article originally appears in the September 27, 2018 issue of the SNEB eCommunicator.
What’s in food is important to consumers and sometimes what’s NOT in food is of more concern. Ingredient lists don’t always tell the whole story. Welcome to the world of resources that can help. Here are some apps to consider – most are free or have a nominal cost. Using online recommendations I searched for more information about the apps. (Note: I’ve avoided focusing on ingredient-specific apps such as gluten-free or food allergies to keep the article brief.)
>>>The 5 best nutrition apps, according to RDs
Brief summaries of Fooducate, Ingredient1 and EWG Food Scores
**Fooducate highlight: pros and cons (UNC)
Pros/cons and cons as well as screenshots are provided.
**How Fooducate rates foods
From Fooducate, detailed information about how the app determines food ratings (Note: there are 250,000 foods in its database).
**Fooducate user testing
Based on 4 people with prior experience with the app
**Fooducate review from Food and Health Communications, a site providing evidence-based and peer-reviewed nutrition education materials
**The App Review: Ingredient1
Detailed review from the Supermarket Guru with screenshots
**Ingredient1 review from Marisa Moore, RDN, Food and Nutrition magazine
Apple only (as of 2015 date of review). Note: foods in database limited to the 200 brands and stores the app partners with.
**EWG Food Scores online
Note: there are 80,000 foods in its database
**EWG Food Scores
App FAQs and how to get the mobile app https://www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/faq#.W6Z0foopChA
>>>10 healthy eating apps this nutritionist loves
Cynthia Sass, RD, shares her favorite apps including Fooducate and Chemical Cuisine
**Chemical Cuisine (Center for Science In the Public Interest) online
**Chemical Cuisine makes understanding food additives easier
Detailed info about how the app works with screenshots
>>>Innovative new app ‘Whatsinit’ quickly, clearly and precisely tells users what’s in their food in 12 words or less
Supported by nutritionists and other experts this app uniquely provides ingredient info for consumers as well as color coding (green, yellow, orange, red). More detailed info is available for the user.
A food storage app, it now has real-time updates on food recalls so consumers can avoid unsafe foods.
>>>Food and Nutrition magazine app review archive
Find more apps here.
>>>Evaluating nutrition apps
Usability, information quality, size of database, functionality, simplicity are just some of the criteria used to evaluate apps. Where can consumers go to find apps? Health or professional organizations and universities may have online reviews. I suggest searching online using the term you are seeking and include ‘nutritionist recommendation’ or ‘nutritionist reviews.’ Online reviews by tech experts provide an idea of an app’s functionality. As listed above, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition magazine has an archive of archived apps that have been reviewed by RDNs.
**Evaluating apps (University of Arizona)
**Evaluation tools for SM and mobile apps
A comprehensive look at how to evaluate mobile apps it provides some good places to go on the bottom of page 4, top of page 5. It reminds us that professional organizations can be good places to go for recommendations. The review also provides numerous criteria to use to evaluate apps.
**A new tool for Nutrition App Quality Evaluation (AQEL): Development, Evaluation and Reliability Testing
An instrument for evaluating nutrition apps for clinical interventions.