Traffic Light Food Tracker


Listed in: Diet  
Traffic Light Food Tracker

Available on:



(click to download)

Supported languages:

Basque / Chinese / Dutch / English / French / German / Japanese / Korean / Vietnamese

Cost:

Free

Aims to help people eat more healthily by demonstrating the effectiveness of the traffic-light rating of food content which appears on food packaging.

Approved by


Languages

Basque / Chinese / Dutch / English / French / German / Japanese / Korean / Vietnamese

Countries of use

Any in which the user is familiar with one of these languages, but mostly helpful to people who live in Australia

Cost

Free

Developer

No details available
(Based in Australia)
No details available

Funder

Cancer Council Victoria [Australia-based patient group specialising in cancer] and Obesity Policy Coalition [Australia-based umbrella group specialising in obesity]

Medical Adviser

Cancer Council Victoria [Australia-based patient group specialising in cancer] and Obesity Policy Coalition [Australia-based umbrella group specialising in obesity]

Features

Trackers Trackers
Information Information

Summary

Aims to help people eat more healthily by demonstrating the effectiveness of the traffic-light rating of food content which appears on food packaging. The user types in each packaged food’s fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium content per 100 grams, and the app calculates a traffic-light evaluation (green for low, amber for medium, and red for high). The idea is for the user to be able to limit the number of ‘red lights’ in the shopping trolley, and instead favour products awarded a green light by the app.


Tags: Health, Wellness & Care in the Community (HWCC)

Reviews

Reviewer: Obesity Policy Coalition, Australia
Review: “Sort the fat from the fiction. Ever been caught out by claims such as “fat-free”, or “high in protein”, only to discover that you’ve been duped into buying something full of sugar? The app demonstrates how traffic-light labelling can help you cut through marketing hype, and make healthier choices.”
Source: PatientView survey, July-August 2012 and http://bit.ly/qeZeJ7
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://www.opc.org.au
Reviewer: Cancer Council South Australia
Review: Recommended by the Cancer Council South Australia
Source: http://bit.ly/MAIsCH
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://www.cancersa.org.au
Reviewer: Claire Gardner, ‘Apps: boosting healthy choices’, SA Kids Parenting Magazine, Australia
Review: “ As with FoodSwitch [note that this review also refers to the ‘Traffic Light Food Tracker’ as well as ‘Foodswitch’], and, as its name suggests, the Traffic Light Food Tracker app gives a traffic-light rating based on the amount of total fat, saturated fat, sugars and sodium per 100g: green for low, amber for medium and red for high. It works in the same way as the FoodSwitch app; however, it is more onerous on the consumer, as you have to find the nutrition information panel on the back of the product, look up the ‘per 100g’ column, and enter the amount of total fat, saturated fat, sugars and sodium into the program to get your traffic-light rating for each nutrient. From my experience with clients, navigating and interpreting nutrition information panels takes some skill, and human error can result in misinformation. The criteria that the app uses to assess foods are comparable to the FoodSwitch app, although the Traffic Light Food Tracker app is slightly more generous with its upper-limit sugar rating. Overall, I think both apps are a useful quick guide for choosing healthy foods. The traffic light approach is very easy for users to understand and the ability to use them on the go is great for busy mums and families. They do have some shortcomings that users need to be aware of. The criteria used for both apps is limited to only four nutrients or ingredients, which lends itself to sometimes getting the ratings wrong. For example, the raisin bread in my pantry received a red traffic light for sugar because it has 17.7g of sugar/100g; however, I know that this is mostly due to the dried fruit (therefore natural sugar) in the bread. It is also a good source of fibre, which both apps fail to acknowledge. Foods with a higher total fat content, regardless of the fat type, are also misrepresented. Nut and seed mixes, as well as some muesli, will rate poorly, but what the apps failure to recognise is that these foods are made up of healthy fats (mono and poly-unsaturated fats) that are essential in a healthy diet. Total kilojoules, portion sizes, glyceamic index, to name but a few, are other factors not represented, and should be considered as additional criteria to future updates of these apps. While I like the idea of tools that ultimately assist consumers to make healthier food choices, these apps in their current form can misrepresent some foods by not telling the full story about their nutritional value. Despite these shortcomings, they can be useful when used properly, and with an understanding of their limitations. I look forward to taking my newly-downloaded apps to the supermarket next, to see what they have to offer.”
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Source: http://bit.ly/1l2gtOu
Usage: Not specified
Weblink of reviewer: http://bit.ly/1l2gvpu

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