When it comes to health apps, I’ve tried them all. An entire shelf of my iPhone is dedicated to the little icons that promise software capable of tracking and calculating eating and movement habits in order to somehow make the larger concept of wellness easier to understand. See, I nerd-out about anything related to nutrition science, so I pride myself on staying up-to-date on the latest dietary-related trends, including these apps. But what I’ve encountered is a slew of health programs that, while informative on a basic level, don’t provide a full picture of the information (and what they do provide can be hard to understand). Enter Sage Project.
“All too often, food data is a black hole: it’s confusing, generic, and as a result doesn’t empower people to make better decisions based on it,” says Sam Slover, co-founder and chief executive of Sage, a food technology company with the goal of helping consumers better navigate nutrition. Sage goes beyond the one-size-fits all formula of basic calorie count and nutrition labels. Sure, it’s helpful to know how much sugar is in a food, but wouldn’t you rather know how much sugar was added in processing or how many jumping jacks it will take to burn that sugar off? This web-based app provides all of that information and significantly more -- and it’s actually fun, too.
Dedicated to making what can be challenging data more approachable, Slover and a designer and dietitian-led team created an interface that is both attractive and actually a bit playful. “We show the data objectively, but use personalized design to help people see the data points that matter to them,” he says. “It’s the generic nutrition label becoming your label.” Basically, you can let Sage know that you’re paleo or gluten-free, training for a triathlon, or simply an average person who wants to better understand nutrition, and see dietary information that matters to you.
Sage allows users to complete personalization pages, complete with information from everything to height, weight, and gender, to dietary restrictions and lifestyle goals. The search feature is linked to a database of approximately 20,000 products (they have a partnership with Whole Foods) so, if a good chunk of what you snack on is labeled organic or natural, you might find exactly the “chips” you’re looking for. If not, general estimates are provided.
The nutrition information is incredibly detailed, down to exactly how many ingredients are in each product and how many of those ingredients are known allergens. (You can also make the site aware of your allergens and it will provide a clear warning if any products you come upon include them.) It will even tell you if your food is made in the U.S.A.
Sage Project is a helpful resource for anyone serious about nutrition or anyone who simply wants to better understand the food they’re putting into their body. It’s intuitive and personalized, and the app will never condemn you for eating any certain food. “It’s not about right food and wrong food,” says Slover. “We designed a system to adapt and highlight what individual people care about.”