Ideally, calorie labels on junk food are supposed to have the opposite effect of “eat me” and “drink me” tags—or at least help people with portion control. But even the FDA thinks the Nutrition Facts label needs an overhaul, proposing, among other things, to update serving sizes. One app has come up with a more visual solution.
Calorific features photographs of more than 140 foods and drinks, showing what 200-calorie portions look like. Peanut butter? Half a spoonful. Spinach? A whole bunch. Users also get to compare items side by side.
The app makers did their research, but food preparation varies by brand and source—so users should consider the photos rough estimates. Still, some might find graphic representations more effective than a Nutrition Facts label, which other than helping get rid of trans fat hasn’t alleviated the obesity crisis.
New York Assemblyman Karim Camara this week went as far as introducing legislation that would require cigarette-like warnings on soda bottles.
“Many years ago, when faced with a similarly devastating public health crisis, we chose to place warning labels on cigarettes and other tobacco products to allow citizens to make more informed choices about what they purchase,” Jeffrey Dinowitz, also a member of the New York Assembly and chairman of the state’s Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, told the New York Observer.
Calorific may take a simpler approach, but seeing how different foods and drinks pack calories is still helpful. Click through for a preview of the app’s database.