When you’re following a specific diet plan, grocery shopping can be seriously tough and time-consuming since you have to scan endless ingredients lists to determine whether an item is compliant. Luckily, there’s an easy new solution that allows you to quickly judge nutrition labels, translating to you getting through the checkout line super quickly.
The food-tracking platform Pinto aims to simplify and personalize nutrition info so more people can take their health into their own hands (and mouths and stomachs), sans confusion. Through both the app and desktop version, you select your diet and goals, then use Pinto’s tools to guide you in the right direction. One of the most impressive functions? Scanning or typing in a product and immediately learning how it stacks up against your particular needs.
As someone who follows a vegan diet, my trips to the grocery store skew lengthy if I’m considering items that are new to me because I have to put on my detective hat to ensure the foods are free of animal byproducts. Not only can Pinto identify whether a certain food is vegan-compliant, but you can also personalize your app to multiple diets, making it easy to see if something is up to snuff for vegans, Whole30 followers, and nut-allergy sufferers, for example. And right now, there are already upward of 100,000 of the most popular items on store shelves and restaurants in the database, so you’re not often left with something the app doesn’t recognize.
For instance, when I searched Cheetos Cheese Puffs, I got a bright red “Doesn’t Fit Vegan” title and a list of all the no-no ingredients.
So, how exactly does Pinto work? After scanning or typing in a product, you’ll see if its ingredients fit your profile, and you’ll also be greeted with a color code. Bright red means the food isn’t a good option for you, yellow means you should only have it in moderation, green means it’s a great fit, and blue means it’s the best of the best. For instance, when I searched Cheetos Cheese Puffs, I got a bright red “Doesn’t Fit Vegan” title and a list of all the no-no ingredients: cheese seasoning, whey, cheddar cheese, milk, cheese cultures, and whey protein concentrate. Since I’m constantly googling “is ___ vegan” and sifting through mostly unreliable sources to get my answers, having a trustworthy—and speedy—way to get info is incredibly helpful.
Aside from helping you filter through your dietary needs, the tool also helps you make healthier choices about what you put in your body, clueing you in on the often unnoticed ingredients that sneak into your food. According to Fortune, one of those ways is making the many types of sugar clearer than ever—something especially useful since there are more than 250 names companies use to hide their presence. “Our team’s favorites are muscovado, sucanat, rice syrup, golden syrup, and HFCS. The first two sound almost like a spice. But because this is data, there’s no hiding anymore,” says Sam Slover, CEO and founder of Pinto.
Arguably the best part about this app is that all the information you receive is backed up by more than 100 dietitians and nutritionists, making you feel like you have expert tips in your literal back pocket (or purse or gym bag) whenever you need it.
Check out these shopping mistakes a nutritionist wishes healthy people would stop making. Or, find out the gross reason to never put unwrapped or unbagged food in your grocery cart.
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