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Gluten Detective App Unlocks Dining/Shopping Challenges

Gluten Detective App Unlocks Dining/Shopping Challenges

Gluten Detective, a new app from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, helps users to quickly uncover gluten-containing ingredients, find clues to general nutrition and answer frequently asked questions on gluten, food labels, Celiac disease and more.

Available in the iTunes store in June 2012, this app can help gluten-sensitive consumers figure out their choices amidst confusing labels and an array of often expensive products, says Elizabeth Nishiura, manager of production and digital development, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Many apps devoted to eating gluten free are simply databases of foods that are labeled ‘gluten free’ by manufacturers,” Nishiura says. “The foods that are labeled gluten free at the grocery store can be very expensive. Consumers can benefit when they expand their choices beyond these products.”

A more lasting approach—helping the user read ingredients and identify whether a product does or does not contain gluten—is the advantage offered by the Gluten Detector, Nishiura says.

The Gluten Detector Tool works using a simple algorithm that takes into account the distinctive food allergen labeling rules of both the FDA and USDA (they work differently). When the tool identifies the gluten status of a food product, the user can add it to a shopping list along with personalized notes, which can be emailed to another party, if desired.

Also included in the app are frequently asked questions about celiac disease and ingredients; information on cross-contamination of foods; tips on nutrition and safe storage; and such products as gluten-free grains and flours. There are also links to reliable resources for people with Celiac disease.

While directed to consumers, “the design makes it a very nice teaching tool for health professionals, particularly registered dietitians, whose clients follow a gluten-free diet. At $2.99, it’s an inexpensive way to quickly check the gluten-free status of any menu item or to help create a recipe.”

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