What in the World are You Eating?
While we may endlessly talk about, debate, and cast judgment upon certain foods, one thing we never stop doing is actually eating. As I write this, thousands of muffins, bagels, hot dogs, energy drinks, and (hopefully) pieces of fruit are being consumed out there in the world. There exists a whole subset of mobile apps, blogging tools, and intrepid individuals that document what people are eating on any given moment of the day. Most of these tools exist to make eating (especially eating out) a more social experience (as in, “check out this awesome bowl of pho!”) or providing some sort of critique of the dining experience (i.e. “these cupcakes are supremely overrated.”). Either way you slice it, people are logging and photographing what they eat and making, what used to be a fairly solitary practice, into something that is open for amusement, interpretation, and evaluation.
One very interesting mobile app that recently surfaced is an app called The Eatery, from an organization called Massive Health. The app, which looks a lot like all of the other apps in which the user is encouraged to document/photograph nearly everything they eat and share with the untold masses, is actually different in one particular respect. One particular focus with this app is rating whether foods are “fit” or “fat” which can be a highly subjective designate, and then that information is compiled and laid out in (almost) real time in this groovy interactive visualization of a planet of eaters (see here).
If nothing else, it is fascinating to see how, throughout the course of the day, the perceivable nutrition and wholesomeness of what we eat drops dramatically. You can see this by the changing splotches of red, yellow, and green that indicate degrees of health. It is no surprise that the United States, and especially middle-America, edges toward the unhealthy (more so than the rest of the planet) as the day moves into night. Here are some other interesting factoids, as assembled by the Massive Health website:
• The healthiness of our meals decreases by 1.7 percent every hour of the day.
• New Yorkers drink 6.7 times the amount of coffee that people in other cities do.
• People are 57 percent more likely to be obese if their friends are obese.
Do you feel there is any true value in sharing this sort of documentation, or do you feel what we eat should not be subject to such cursory evaluation? Is crowd sourcing nutrition a valuable way of promoting good nutrition?