As a growing number of scientific studies find questionable long-term side effects from common household products, many of us are left wondering what is safe to use and what we should avoid.
Fortunately, there are several health apps available to determine if there are harmful ingredients in a product, and can help you choose to switch to safer alternatives. Let’s take a look at how they can help you make a positive change in your life.
The 1Source app is a must for anyone wanting to take charge of their health and avoid exposure to harmful ingredients.
You can navigate through a plethora of baby, personal care, beauty, pet care, and household products with ease. It allows you to scan barcodes or ingredient labels easily to get a comprehensive profile of products including key ingredients and vital nutritional information, and whether or not they contain substances known to cause health problems.
You can save products in lists and track their expiration dates within the app. It also lets you create a personal health profile in which you can input information about your diet and health. You will then receive alerts for potentially harmful substances that are specific to your health conditions.
Download: 1Source for Android | iOS (Free)
2. EWG’s Healthy Living
With 120,000 products and counting, this free app from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) helps you understand your food, personal care, and other household products better.
You can scan a barcode or search product names to quickly identify and analyze ingredients and see their overall rating, with 1.0 being the best and 10.0 being the worst in terms of risk and toxicity.
The Food Score rating is a powerful nutrition tool that enables you to view the nutritional value of foods and avoid those that are unhealthy. It is based on three elements: nutrition, ingredient concerns, and the degree of processing.
The app rates over 5,000 ingredients and 1,500 brands. Attributes such as calories, servings per container, protein, sugar, and fat are then displayed clearly for each product.
In addition, the app has an easy-to-use interface and provides research-based shopper guides and other useful resources to help you eat healthier and make smarter choices for your family.
Download: EWG’s Healthy Living for Android | iOS (Free)
CodeCheck makes it easier to visualize vital nutrition information in a simple and intuitive manner. You can scan barcodes or EAN numbers, or enter products manually to get a full reading of the ingredients and determine whether they are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free.
Based on the nutritional traffic light system, this app makes it easier to make balanced food choices by highlighting healthier foods compared to others within the same category. It will show you where nutrition experts place products in terms of safety: red (not recommended), yellow (limit consumption), or green (no concern identified), based on scientific evidence.
If you want to make sure that your food choices always correspond with your eating habits, you can personalize the evaluation of ingredients within the profile section. In this way, you can receive a color-coded rating circle tailored to your dietary needs.
The free version of the app is supported by ads. The premium version, available as a monthly or annual subscription, offers unlimited scanning, removal of ads, and priority support.
Download: CodeCheck for Android | iOS (Free, subscriptions available)
4. Ingredients Scanner
Ingredients Scanner is one of the simplest apps out there. It is a perfect complement to the other apps on this list and helps you improve your health and lifestyle.
To use the app, point your smartphone camera at the product label. The app will then detect whether each ingredient is safe to use and color-codes them appropriately. You can see at a glance which substances are safe (green), have concerns (orange), or are potentially dangerous (red).
The app is free to use. You can access the ad-free version via a one-time premium upgrade.
Download: Ingredient Scanner for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Yuka is a free mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. You can scan barcodes of food and personal care products, receive independent ratings, and get recommendations of healthier alternatives wherever available.
Yuka rates over 1.5 million food products, and over 500,000 cosmetic products in a color-coded format using the European NutriScore calculation method. It takes into account the nutritional values, the presence of additives, and the organic nature of products.
The app also lets you know the impact of product ingredients such as saturated fat, sugar, salt, and energy levels on your health.
Download: Yuka for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. Detox Me
Detox Me is a free app that provides extensive information on a wide variety of consumer products. You can incorporate these super helpful tips into your daily routine and habits for a healthier lifestyle.
The app, developed by the Silent Spring Institute, helps you identify toxic chemicals in your homes and surroundings, and provides research-based tips on how to reduce exposure to these substances. To use the app, you can scan product barcodes using your smartphone camera, or type in product names manually.
As you work through the Detox Me guides, you will receive badges to mark your progress. For instance, you get a “Healthy Food” badge if you incorporate organic products into your diet or avoid the use of plastics when dealing with food items, as this reduces your exposure to chemicals and toxic substances considerably.
Download: Detox Me for Android | iOS (Free)
Whether you’re counting calories or tracking carbs and other useful data, it can be hard to know exactly where to start. Luckily, Fooducate is here to help with helpful, pertinent information for healthy living.
The app uses your phone camera to scan food labels, serving up instant information on nutrition and other qualifiers that impact your diet. It also allows you to manually search the database for products and pulls up healthier alternatives, if available.
Fooducate works by determining your calorie needs first, based on your biometric data. You need to log your food intake daily. This data is used in conjunction with your weight loss diet plan to calculate how well you manage your daily calorie intake goals.
The free version of the app consists of a comprehensive product database and is supported by ads. The Pro versions are ad-free, with a ton of advanced features such as training modules for specific diets customized to your health conditions, as well as better tracking of nutrient intake.
There are specific subscriptions designed to personalize your fitness goals, including gluten and food allergy tracking, a “Diet Kickstart” program, as well as a pet food guide.
Download: Fooducate for Android | iOS (Free, subscriptions available)
Shop for the Healthiest Products
While it may seem daunting to scan every product you buy, it only takes a few minutes and will likely save you more time and money than you could ever imagine.
Ultimately, these apps provide features that not only your health and your wallet can benefit from, but also the environment in general. We encourage you to try them out for yourself and determine which one(s) work best for your family and lifestyle.
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About The Author
Cheryl Vaughn (19 Articles Published)
Cheryl is a Content creator and strategist with a focus in lifestyle, mobile applications, and digital media. She has reviewed tech products and applications for content, usability and accessibility. She works closely with individuals and businesses to design campaigns that connect brands with customers using the appropriate mix of words and visuals.