Modern Aging: inBelly

Today’s blog post is written by Kristina Saudargaite who is the founder of inBelly. This organization is already helping children at schools to have better food by identifying and classifying additives. Now, inBelly wants to branch out to another sensitive target group, the elderly. Read Kristina’s story here:

My name is Kristina Saudergaite and I love food. I love eating, cooking, going to the grocery store etc.  I also love knowing what I eat. For this purpose, my friends and I once looked at the ingredient list. We saw many chemical names that we could not understand or tell how they affect our health. Thus, we checked.

The results shocked us! Commonly used E250 is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as probably carcinogenic to humans or in simple words it is likely to cause cancer. E211 or sodium benzoate is not harmful on its own; however, it reacts with vitamin C and releases benzene – a known toxin. And who does not eat products often containing E211 such as shrimps together with a slice of lemon or maybe drinking Must with a salad

These are only a few examples; but food is increasingly stuffed with chemicals and this puts our health at risk.

The amounts of additives that may cause adverse effects are regulated by the EU. The problem lies in the fact that tests are made on healthy individuals (or animals). However, sensitive subgroups such as the elderly may be much more susceptive to the additives and adverse health effects related to them. Nursing homes do not have enough information to make sure that the food they buy do not contain harmful ingredients.

inBelly has the expertise and a rigorous database on food additives. Moreover, we have a technological solution that enables to quickly check if a product contains anything harmful.

In Sweden we have found many food products containing additives banned in other countries, such as Canada and/or linked to diseases. This knowledge exists in academia and in public documents but since the information is presented in a complicated and scattered manner, it rarely reaches the wider public. inBelly is unique since it uses official and scientific information about food additives and depicts it in a non-scientific “easy-to-understand” kind of way. The app simply shows a sign indicating that the scanned product contains additives banned in other countries. Our service innovation lies in using a mobile solution to translate knowledge from academia into simple visual signs in order to make the information quickly and easily available to everyone. With our mobile app people can scan barcodes and get information whether this particular product contains any ingredients that may be linked to diseases. The initiative won the Stockholm Innovation award in the service category 2012.

We are currently using this knowledge to help pre-schools to choose better food. We are cooperating with the chef at Globala Gymnasium to go through the products they purchase and analyse if any of them contain additives that may be harmful. This helps the institutions to ensure better food.

Since the elderly, similarly to children, is a sensitive group, we plan to offer our services to help nursing homes to go through the food they serve the elderly and check if they contain harmful additives. This would ensure good quality food and best possible health and wellbeing for the elderly.

Follow inBelly on facebook.com/inBelly or on Twitter @inbelly_guide

Source: http://www.socialinnovation.se/sv/modern-aging-blog-inbelly/

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About Stéphanie Treschow

I work as Country Manager for ACCESS Health International, Sweden. I have a background in Banking and hold a Master of Science in Finance from Stockholm School of Economics. I have previously worked as Equity Sales Analyst at Citigroup in London where I advised global institutional clients on global equities. Prior to that, I have pursued several internships for global institutional banks in New York, London and Stockholm. I have also worked with the private charitable foundation, The World We Want, in identifying and evaluating projects aimed at poverty alleviation and solutions to environmental degradation.

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