What we put in and on our bodies

I was introduced to an app called Yuka today. By scanning the barcode on everyday items you can instantly get a reasoned quality / danger to health rating based on ingredients.

Needless to say I have been trying it out around the house. Most shockingly one of my energy bars gets 4/100 and my chammy cream gets 0/100! Both contain known carcinogens.

I am interested to hear your thoughts and experience. Have you come across this or similar apps? Do you use them? Have you made different choices as a result?

Not something thats come across my radar Julian. I do like the idea but I also wonder where the data on what is good bad etc is coming from. Given we know some research/testing is paid for by parties who have a vested interest to get you to buy consume their products.

Also then you have the number of subjects in the test pool can be as little as a dozen and then they might report that 98% of subjects saw X result. However others will be a much larger test pool.

I’m defiantly interested in it as for me it could be the tool where by I can get my daughter and partner thinking more about just what they eat and put in their bodies. Along with the make-up side where I’ve know for 20 years or so that a lot of the make-ups used to put used chip fat oil in which often made up the base.

Also someone I knew had to test Redbull when it first came to market in the UK and he said how carcinogenic it was.

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There is also Food Scanner: Grocery Coach but cost a lot more and Yuka has a free base model.

Also and free is the NHS Food Scanner to find healthier alternatives which I did try years ago but it was lacking data at the time.

Yuka seems to go further by flagging more health related risks.

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have you had a look at the Yuka app? I totally agree that the source of the data is critical. It is pretty specific about what is leading to the rating.

The company I work for does a lot of work in this space during product development and supplier selection. We refer to a lot of the additives as “Substances of Interest”. This means that they are not necessarily banned or even restricted in their use but there is evidence of negative health or environmental impacts from them. I haven’t found any red flags from any of our products yet.

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This is very interesting (scary)

Doesn’t our body do a good job of filtering these out, though? Isn’t that the counter argument, which is pretty solidly backed by science, that even substances known to be carcinogenic are found in such small quantities that they pose no risk? Genuine question out of curiosity!

Yes I have after Julian mentioned it. I’ve started playing with it and I think like all things it is understanding what it is flagging.

A lot of what they are saying if you read the further info is that certain amounts are fine. However given today’s highly proceed foods and the fact that a lot of people are only eating these foods can mean they are in fact going beyond what the body can deal with.

I can give you a specific example. My son has very sensitive skin and regularly scratches to the point of bleeding. Doctors have basically just said he should put up with it. I have checked the moisturiser that he uses. It is rated poor with 33/100.

It has 8 ingredients identified as low risk and one as medium - phenoxyethanol. This is used as an antimicrobial in a lot of cosmetics. It is also a common allergen.

With 30 seconds research I found a moisturiser that is 100/100 and cheaper than the one he was using. His initial reaction after 2 days is that his skin isn’t as itchy but time will tell.

Information is power. I made that choice for my son. I also chose to use energy gels that also rate very poorly because they are convenient and performance enhancing. With the information I will probably look for better alternatives once my stocks run out. The same is true for JuicePlus products that I use but also rate very poorly due to anti-caking agent silicon dioxide.

Defiantly information is power.

One surprising thing I’ve found and not fully looked into is that on some Oat bars I occasionally buy if I’ve not made any workout foods was that it was rate 42/100 only two additives and only one of limited risk which was Sodium Bicarbonate. However one of the higher rated options 6-100 has 3 additives and two of which are listed risk. So I’ve not fully got my head around how it rates them.

Also the one frustrations was I wanted to see how one of the protein powders I use rated and the message was that Yuka doesn’t rate products that are high in protein.

Another one I scanned in the supermarket while shopping was beef brisket which while it got 49/100 when you look at the additives 2 are flagged as hazardous. One of which was Sodium nitrate which is used in foods as a preservative and when you check into the details has been classified by the Agency fro Research on Cancer as probably carcinogenic to humans and in France the ANES confirmed this and recommended limiting the use of nitrate/nitrite additives in foods.

This is very interesting and I really appreciate you sharing this.

It doesn’t like high energy density, a lot of sugar or saturated fat. These seem to get negative marks.

I also tried protein powder and the fructose and maltodextrin that I use for my energy drinks. None of those are rated.

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I guess because the fructose and maltodextrin are so basic? Protein powder is a little surprising it is not rated, maybe just because there are many varieties?

The high energy density foods being flagged does make sense to me.

Given that so many people grab bars as snacks thinking they are making a healthy choice. Some of these bars have 400-500 calories. However it’s all about understanding what you feeding yourself and making educated choices.

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Great information - thank you for sharing

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