Nutrition First: How an App Seeks to Make People Aware of Their Food Habits

How often do you check the cover of packaged food items for their nutritional value? Most people usually

How often do you check the cover of packaged food items for their nutritional value? Most people usually toss it in the shopping cart without thinking twice about what they are about to consume.

Given that Indian food is generally high on carbs and there is increasing preference for fatty junk foods, the nutritional value of a meal is not only diluted but the required daily nutrient intake too suffers leading to various lifestyle disorders such as diabetes and hypertension.

The awareness of nutrient intake and calorie count is relatively low in India than perhaps other countries. This is ironic considering that weight loss and fat loss are largely dependent on diet. Hence it becomes increasingly important for people to understand the significance of all kinds of nutrients in daily diet in order to have a healthy, balanced meal and ward off unwanted lifestyle disorders including obesity and underweight issues.

HealthifyMe is an app that understands the Indian diet and can quantify regional Indian foods cooked at home. It’s a calorie counter specific to the Indian scenario and currently has over 100,000 users. The delivered empirical results show 25% reduction in fat intake, 15% increase in protein and 100% increase in physical activity.

“At the time we started HealthifyMe, there was a grave need of an Indian calorie counter. There were no good tools out there to quantify the regional Indian foods cooked at home” Says Nikhil Moorjani Marketing head for HealthifyMe “The fitness/slimming services market is around $2 billion annually and is likely to double further in the next three years. Almost 5 million people contribute to this spend today largely in the offline world. However, this is going to increase to about 20 million due to the growth in the digital wellness space thanks to fast increasing smartphone access. It is this where HealthifyMe intends to play a major role” he continues

 

Of the many features in this app, the one that catches the eye is having the calories instantly counted based on a picture of the food item. Thanks to an in-house nutritionist, the meal is analysed and feedback is provided on calorie and the macro-nutrient values. The company also has an in-house tool, built from the National Institute of Nutrition’s database under the guidance of the Director, Dr. Sesikeran, to calculate the nutrition value of any food based solely on its ingredients and the cooking procedure.

The team consists of full-time in-house nutritional experts who hold Masters Degrees and doctorates in food and nutrition sciences from well-known institutes, many of whom are dedicated to medical channels such as Medanta, Apollo (Delhi) and Manipal Hospitals in Bangalore.

If you’re looking for weight loss assistance, the app can also build a program designed to suit your physical, medical and motivational levels. All the fitness experts are ACE certified and work full-time with the company. Track and measure your performance and the trainers will ensure you stay on course. In future the company also hopes to involve psychologists to help customers stay motivated during the entire transformative process.

Considering that most Indians are not in the habit of counting calories and tracking nutrient intake, HealthifyMe not only helps simplify the task, but given that is made especially for the Indian audience, it is sure to help you balance the cravings of your taste buds with the demands of your physical health and lifestyle.

I have been using this application for the last few months. The calorie count of some of the food that I thought was ‘healthy’ was surprising. As a doctor if I was unaware then you can imagine what the common Indian goes through daily unknowingly consuming food that might affect his health in the future.

Recently  Micromax picked up a minority stake in HealthifyMe and the App is going to be the default companion App for their latest fitness band YUFit. More that in the following posts.

But the question is would you use such an app to keep your health in check?

As always comments suggestions and feedback are welcome…

 

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