In my unending quest to find alternatives to research, I came across this website. In addition to its blog, which provides all kinds of useful information about foods and food products, Fooducate has a handy iPhone app (it’s free!) which can be used to scan the barcode of a any product in the grocery store. What is returned is an overall rating (a grade from A to D) of the product, complete with details about where the product falls short (i.e Whole Grain Cranberry Almond Crunch Cereal [C+] has 3.5 tsp of added sugar per serving and is not, as it claims, 100% whole grain), or why it’s a good purchase (i.e. no trans fats; low in sodium). My Lundberg Organic Rice cakes, lightly salted scored a B grade, which is not bad (it seems that their portion sizes are not always true to the label [which I didn’t know] and that hurt their rating some. Rice cakes also have very little nutritional value, so there’s that strike against them!)
I decided to study nutrition for several reasons. I wanted to understand why people ate what they did and how that was related to health, specifically the rising rates of obesity. I wanted to know how to change individuals’ dietary behaviors for the better. But most importantly, I wanted to improve peoples’ access to healthy (and affordable) foods. My work has done that, to a point. The impact is just not very tangible.
This is (seemingly) one of the nice things about blogging: you get immediate feedback on your ideas. One can write that it’s wise to think twice about picking up that diet coke and people- real people (not just other researchers [who, yes, are sometimes not real people])- actually see it. And they respond. And you see them respond. And as I read through the posts on Fooducate I thought “I want to do this.”
So I emailed “blog [at] fooducate [dot] com”. And guess what?! They said “Sure. Send us a post. And a photo and a short bio and we’ll publish it.” Just like that.
Trouble is, that now I’m short on ideas. So, let’s have it. What are your most burning nutrition (or food) questions? If you had your own personal nutritionist (or obesity researcher) at your disposal what would you ask her/him?