Every time we bring ultra-processed food to our mouth it is difficult to know precisely what we are consuming. The nutritional tables that accompany french fries, cookies and chocolates do not always present clear information. Thus at least it was shown by the National Institute of Health in an exercise he did in February this year: of the people he interviewed, 28% said they always looked at the nutritional information, but most said they did not understand it.
To help solve these doubts, Red Papaz, an organization that advocates for the protection of the rights of children and adolescents, launched a few days ago an application that can, with some basic data, make a quick calculation of the true amount of sugar, saturated fat and sodium (salt) that has a soda or a package. An AI Application Named Nutrition scanner
Simply put, as the description of the App says, it is an application “designed to help people identify if an ultra-processed beverage or edible has excess sugars, sodium and saturated fats in accordance with the provisions of the Model Nutrient Profile of the Pan American Health Organization. ”
To use it, it is enough to have access to the internet and a cell phone with a camera (although it is not essential). When you open it, the application will ask you to “scan” the barcode of the chosen item. In case you do not identify it, you can manually enter the main data of the nutritional table. Doing so does not take more than two minutes. Just write the portion size, the number of calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
After that step “Nutrition Scanner” will give you some symbols in which you will say if that product is high in any of those elements. For example: if you want to know the properties of some 28.5 grams cookies without resorting to the tiny letter of your nutritional table, just put that it has 120 kilocalories, 2 grams of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium and 3 grams of sugars The result will be three symbols with these warnings: “High in sugars”, “high in sodium”, “high in saturated fats”, signs very similar to those already used by countries such as Chile or Peru.
The application can be used to calculate the properties of any ultra-processed food. That is, that large group of industrial formulations made, mostly, with additives such as binders, colorants, sweeteners, thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, flavorings and solvents. Breakfast cereals, sodas, fruit juices, packaged foods, frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets and jams are just some of the products that are part of that category and are the culprits of an epidemic that increasingly seems unstoppable: obesity.