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Information Overload: iPhone app helps you make better food choices

By C.J. CASTILLO
Feb. 12, 2011 at midnight
Updated Feb. 11, 2011 at 8:12 p.m.


So, you've decided it's time to make better choices when it comes to food. That potato chip sandwich you had for lunch probably wasn't the best decision you've made in a while. And you've come to the sad realization that chocolate cake is not the breakfast of champions. (But it tastes so good!)

However, with the help of a mobile app, you'll be on the road to healthy living in no time. Or at least you can better educate yourself about what you eat.

I'll admit it, I am not a fan of grocery shopping. I don't know if it's the long checkout lines or the large selection of deli meats, but grocery shopping is not something I enjoy in particular.

That said, it's a task that must be done. Sometimes, I'll hastily choose items without reading labels, and throw them in my cart just to get out of the store faster. Chocolate cookies dipped twice in fudge then fried? Sounds good. Throw it in the cart. I can't continue to live this way and want to make the right food choices. Thanks to an app named Fooducate, I can learn more about what I eat.

Fooducate lets you look up food and nutrition information for products. This mobile application allows you to scan a product's barcode and receive product details and ratings. You also can look up alternatives to the product and make comparisons.

In addition to all the production information, you also can keep track of the items you like and read daily health tips.

Fooducate works on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and is free to download on iTunes. When entering the product barcodes, you have the option of scanning the barcode using the camera on your phone, or manually entering the numbers.

I tested Fooducate using an iPhone 3G and had to enter the barcode manually. The camera on my iPhone couldn't pick up the barcode though (this is mentioned on the product details in the App Store). I admit it's much more fun using the scan option in Fooducate rather than punching in numbers. However, I was able to look up information on various products I had at home. Now perhaps I'll make better choices about breakfast cereal. Just because the box comes with a toy inside, doesn't mean I need to buy it.

For more details on Fooducate, visit www.fooducate.com.

CJ Castillo is the interactivity editor for the Victoria Advocate. You can contact her at cjcastillo@vicad.com. Please send all correspondence c/o Victoria Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902

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