Evaluation of the Recipe Function in Popular Dietary Smartphone Applications, with Emphasize on Features Relevant for Nutrition Assessment in Large-Scale Studies

Liangzi Zhang, Eline Nawijn, Hendriek Boshuizen, Marga Ocké*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nutrient estimations from mixed dishes require detailed information collection and should account for nutrient loss during cooking. This study aims to make an inventory of recipe creating features in popular food diary apps from a research perspective and to evaluate their nutrient calculation. A total of 12 out of 57 screened popular dietary assessment apps included a recipe function and were scored based on a pre-defined criteria list. Energy and nutrient content of three recipes calculated by the apps were compared with a reference procedure, which takes nutrient retention due to cooking into account. The quality of the recipe function varies across selected apps with a mean score of 3.0 (out of 5). More relevant differences (larger than 5% of the Daily Reference Intake) between apps and the reference were observed in micronutrients (49%) than in energy and macronutrients (20%). The primary source of these differences lies in the variation in food composition databases underlying each app. Applying retention factors decreased the micronutrient contents from 0% for calcium in all recipes to more than 45% for vitamins B6, B12, and folate in one recipe. Overall, recipe features and their ability to capture true nutrient intake are limited in current apps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200
JournalNutrients
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • diet apps
  • dietary intake assessment
  • food record
  • nutrient retention
  • recipe calculations
  • technological innovations

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