Halal Consumer - Issue 28 - page 16

Health & Nutrition
By Nadirah D. Muhammad
A
dvancements in technology have significantly
impacted the way we eat. Today, we have easier
access to food and a multitude of options, unlike
our ancestors. Though the agricultural revolution
is seen as a top advancement of our time, because of it our
thought process regarding food has changed. No longer do
we eat to live; we are now living to eat. And often times what
we love to eat is unhealthy. This has created a huge prob-
lem. According to the World Health Organization, unhealthy
diets and physical inactivity are key risk factors for the major
non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular dis-
eases, cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, poor eating habits
and a sedentary lifestyle has contributed to the expansion
of many Americans’ waistlines. The latest data from the
National Center for Health Statistics shows that more than
one third of adults in the United States are considered obese.
Conversely, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regu-
larly can help prevent these same diseases and help us lose
or maintain a healthy weight. With the many unwholesome
options that conveniently surround us, eating healthily and
exercising is not always the easiest choice. But there is hope
for those of us who struggle with this.
A study published in the August 2008 edition of the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
, which included
1,685 overweight or obese American adults aged 25 and
older, found that recording your food intake in a food
journal makes you more likely to drop the excess pounds.
Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, executive director of The
Center for Mindful Eating, says keeping a journal instantly
increases your awareness of what, how much, and why you
are eating. This helps you cut down on mindless munching.
With the technological advances of mobile devices, such
as smart phones and tablets, today there is literally an app
for everything. Physical food journals are now a thing of
the past, having been succeeded by nutrition apps, which
makes recording food intake much simpler by putting the
control right in the palm of your hands.
There are many options when it comes to nutrition apps
(many of which are free), as a search with the key words
“nutrition app” on Apple’s App Store yields over 2,000
results. That same search on Android’s Play Store yields
over 400 results. These apps can be split into two main
categories: weight management and dietary restrictions
(e.g. halal, gluten free, and diabetic friendly), with the for-
mer being the most popular.
The nutrition apps in the first category essentially per-
form all the same functions and, simply put, are like
pocket nutritionists. Because everyone’s dietary needs vary
depending on age, weight, height, and gender, these apps
allow users to personalize settings, in addition to exercise
and weight management goals.
After inputting personal information, the apps let its users
know their healthy weight range and recommended daily
caloric intake in order to lose, gain, or maintain weight.
Amani Jabbar, a certified group exercise/Insanity instruc-
tor, says, “I think nutrition and weight management apps
are great tools to use for weight loss and also to keep track
There’s an App For That
Health and Halal?
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Spring 2014
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