Help Dental Patients Manage Sugar With An App

Do you ever wonder if patients actually reduce soda or cookie consumption following your education about the health impact of sugar? Well, now you can recommend that your patients download the Fooducate app. It can help motivate patients to reduce sugar consumption and create accountability to support them in doing so.

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BY Karen Davis, RDH, BSDH

Do you ever wonder if patients actually reduce soda or cookie consumption following your education about the health impact of sugar? Well, now you can recommend that your patients download the Fooducate app. It can help motivate patients to reduce sugar consumption and create accountability to support them in doing so.

This is an app that emerged as a result of a parent's desire to make healthier food choices for their children, and managing sugar consumption was one of their goals. As a father of three small children, Hemi Weingarten was as confused as the rest of us when making food choices. He questioned whether or not fruit juice was good or bad, and wondered how much sugar was too much for a breakfast cereal. In his quest to learn as much as he could about making wise food and beverage choices, the Fooducate app came to life.

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Other articles by Davis

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We consume over 30 teaspoons of added sugar a day, but the American Heart Association (AHA) issued guidelines in 2009 to slash sugar consumption to six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons a day for men. The Fooducate app enables users to track consumption throughout the day, making it easier to select wise food and beverage choices.

On the first day I used the app, I learned that by 2 p.m. I had consumed 23g of the 24g limit of added sugar for the entire day! In order to stay within the AHA guidelines, for the rest of that day I either had to avoid additional added sugar intake, or be more physically active to burn sugar consumption. Mindless eating and drinking of products loaded with sugar has helped contribute to the rise in obesity, the rise in diabetes, and increases in blood pressure and triglyceride levels, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fooducate does not receive any funding from the food, beverage, or supplement industry and, simply put, is a fast way to gauge whether or not a food or beverage choice is an A, B, C, or D choice based upon whether or not it is:

• Minimally or highly processed

• Genetically modified

• High in added sugar or sodium

• Nutrient dense or nutrient deficient.

The Fooducate app calculates a daily maximum amount of natural and added sugar based upon your gender, daily activity, and the AHA guidelines. A user enters the data on what he or she has consumed and/or scans in the bar code throughout the day, and the Fooducate app calculates what percentage of your consumption is minimally or highly processed; what percentage of your consumption is fat, carbohydrate, and protein; and tracks added sugar consumption throughout the day.

You can also join the "community" of users to pose questions, get tips, or share suggestions.

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Figure 1. Fooducate app for smartphones.

Figure 1 is an image of the Fooducate app assigning a grade of "C" for this breakfast cereal because it has 3.5 tsp. (14g) of added sugar per serving. Dental hygienists need useful tools to help transition dietary recommendations into reality. Check out the Fooducate app for yourself, and maybe I'll see you in the Fooducate Community! RDH

Action Point Takeaways

• Download the Fooducate app to track your own sugar consumption and make "A" and "B" food choices throughout the day

• Recommend patients download the Fooducate App for easy sugar tracking

• Invite your patients to "follow" you in the Fooducate Community.


Karen Davis, RDH, BSDH, is the founder of Cutting Edge Concepts, an international continuing education company, and practices dental hygiene in Dallas, Texas. She is an independent consultant to the Philips Corp., Periosciences, and Hu-Friedy/EMS. She can be reached at Karen@Karendavis.net.

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