App-Review: “Food Intolerances” + A Giveaway March 26, 2015 by Deniz 9 Comments No matter if you are a newbie or a trooper, we all have to deal with tons of contradicting lists and information when faced with fructose malabsorption. With time you learn to trust your own gut instincts instead of blindly following other peoples’ lists. But still, wouldn’t it be nice to have easy access to all the fructose-related knowledge, just in case? Impossible? Not quite! There is an app for that: “Food Intolerances” by Baliza I’ve read a lot about the app “Food Intolerances“. It is a handy little guide for people suffering from food intolerances, looking for trustworthy information on whether a food should be avoided or not. The creators of the app evaluated more than 700 foods and rated them in terms of their fructose, lactose, sorbitol, histamine and gluten content. The best thing about it: The creators know exactly what to look for, because they all suffer from different food sensitivities themselves. Let’s jump into the details, shall we? Bonus: If you make it to the end of the review, you get a shot at winning 1 out of 5 copies of this app for free! The facts – What the makers say: Ratings and comments on more than 700 foods Filter function to identify suitable foods Filter for histamine, fructose, sorbitol, lactose, salicylate, gluten, milk protein and egg Integrated shopping list for planning your purchases Direct link to Wikipedia articles for all entries (if available) No internet connection required Possibility to add own comments, e.g. to document individual allergies Optional in-app purchases: filters for soy, fish, pork, baker’s yeast, wheat and allergies to birch, grass pollen, etc. *Source: App Store What knocked me off my socks? Evaluation approach The usual lists on fructose concentration only focus on the amount of fructose per overall weight. But as most of us know, that’s only half of the story when deciding whether a food will go easy on our stomachs or not. That’s why Baliza cleverly worked out their own rating system: Green suggests that a food’s overall fructose concentration is very low. Accordingly, a food receives a yellow, orange or red rating if its usual portion size, its fructose-glucose-ratio and/or the amount of a certain type of dietary fibre (likely to behave like fructose in the large intestine) is expected to cause problems. Nice work Baliza! Language Settings You can easily toggle between the preset languages (English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French), but you don’t have to decide on only one language. Just activate the special feature, which allows you to read entries in additional languages, and you’ll immediately see the translation for spelt, strawberries, etc. in the languages of your choice. Travelling with fructose malabsorption solved! (Depending on the country of course) Sources and Wikipedia integration Each entry comes with a full list of the research sources that the creators based their evaluation on. If you would like to continue reading about an ingredient on Wikipedia you just tap on the W-Symbol next to it and the app takes you there automatically, without making you leave the app, ever! How cool is that? What did I grumble about? I actually couldn’t find much to complain about. There are just two things I would briefly like to mention here: Carob The one and only entry that made me trip, was carob. I always thought this was a no-go for people with fructose malabsorption. Online I’ve heard many people complaining about heavy reactions. Baliza however, gives it a green light. So I asked Tanja from Baliza about it and here is her answer: “Even though we didn’t specifically write a comment on this, we’ve put a lot of thought into our rating for carob. Carob is a legume, containing sometimes hard to digest dietary fibre. The entry in our app references to carob gum. It is used as a thickening-agent for liquids or a binding-agent in gluten-free baked goods. The amount used usually does not exceed more than 5 grams. One would need to consume more than 100 g of carob gum to experience serious symptoms.” Thanks Tanja for clarifying this! What’s your experience with carob? Design Call me superficial, but outer appearance actually does matter to me! In terms of functionality the app works well. Butwhen browsing through the information and settings sections, I felt a little lost at times. Also the three stars “***” that show up in the notes, occasionally (iPhone version only) left me desperately searching for the corresponding footnote, until Tanja explained that these are added for readability purposes only. Oops 🙂 I know it’s never easy to make such a large amount of information look good, but it’s something I’d really appreciate! Summary This app is worth every penny! The vast list of sources cited underlines the endless hours of work they must have dedicated to bring this app to life. And it’s a one app fits all solution! If you are suffering from multiple food intolerances and have to stick to a restricted diet this app is a must have for you. Please note, that I focused mainly on fructose malabsorption for my review. Let me know in the comments about your experience with the other filters in the app. I also tested the iOS version only. There is an Android version out already, but some of the features are still under construction. Developing takes time and money, so please be patient with the creators. They are working on it! Name: Food Intolerances Costs: 5,99 € For iOS and Android Last Update: November 9, 2014 Value for everyday life ★★★★★ (5/5) Value for money ★★★★★ (5/5) Design ★★★☆☆ (3/5) Happiness factor ★★★★ and ½ (4,5/5) Giveaway: Win 1 out of 5 free copies of Food Intolerances for your smartphone (iOS or Android) Moving on to the grand finale. Baliza gave me 5 (!!!) copies of their app to share with my readers! Thank you so much Baliza-Team! Entering the giveaway is easy as pie: Just sign up for the FRUCTOPIA Newsletter by March 31st 2015 and your name will be added to the draw. That way you won’t miss out, when I announce the winners. I’m in for the FRUCTOPIA newsletter If you’ve already purchased the app, make sure to leave a review in the app store! After all, it’s the best way to keep the creators motivated. I can only imagine how tedious it must have been to get all the data and research straight. Let’s show some appreciation! And now it’s your turn: Which ingredient(s) would you look up first? Any food(s) you are currently trying to find trustworthy information on?