Friday, September 25, 2009

Sometimes I Think Free Marketeers May Be Right

This post on the USDA blog boasts about the new advances:
MyFood-a-pediashould be your first stop. Here you’ll find quick access to nutrition information for over 1,000 foods.[emphasis added] MyFood-a-pedia has calorie count information and can help you figure out how what you’re eating contributes to your health. It also shows the number of “extra” calories in foods from solid fats, added sugars and alcohol.
Sounds good, right?  But then I remembered reading Ms. Slatalla's Thursday column in the NYTimes about her efforts to reduce her middle age spread:
Lose It! [an Iphone app] has its own database listing the calories in a few thousand different foods. And if a food was not listed? I could always find it in another iPhone app, the LiveStrong calorie counter, which lists 450,000 foods.
So maybe Mr. Vilsack should call Mr. Jobs? (I actually doubt there's 450,000 foods in the world, but maybe food/quantity combos is reasonable.  Anyway, rather than nitpicking the Times again, the important point is this is a case where private initiative can do better than the government.  What USDA should do is doublecheck the data Lose It! uses.)

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