Please note: After several successful years, the Open Minds blog will be closing. For further details, please visit our FAQ

Currently showing: Funding longer lives > Health/medicine

14 Jun 13 11:40

Scientists spend huge amounts of time (and money!) to discover the secrets to a longer and healthier life. But the truth is that the focus should not be on scientific novelties only but also on people themselves who need to turn their own attention to change their lifestyle for the better. As obesity becomes a global phenomenon we should not keep our eyes closed to the significant role of nutrition. This is one of the greatest weapons against various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and others. And let's not forget that "we are what we eat".

In order for people to change their eating habits it is essential for them to gain a better understanding of what they actually eat. A number of studies have found that moderate calorie restriction can extend the life span. But how easy is it for people to actually find accurate and in depth nutrition information of what they consume? One of the most common approaches is online searching but information usually comes from various sources and evidence may eventually be conflicting.

Last Monday, Google added its latest feature to its search capabilities: detailed and precise nutrition information. Following the increasing demand in health related queries over time the Internet giant, decided to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to provide to its users the best possible nutrition information such as calories, carbs and proteins ranging from simple foods like bananas, broccoli to more complex ones such as burritos. Users also have the option to tailor their information to their eating habits by changing serving sizes via a drop-down box in a specific food profile.

More information can be found in the attached video.

Technology is definitely moving fast but let's wait and see what its impact will be!

Google Calories? Nutrition Facts Showing Up in Search

Google search can now help you find nutrition facts. Google's Knowledge Graph will add intuitive results.

Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine


Jennifer Rodney - 14 Jun 2013, 5:12 p.m.

Fully agree that preventative medicine in the form of lifestyle choices is a vital slice of the pie when it comes to health. And the quality and quantity of the food one eats can have a significant impact!
I've attempted to use nutrition tracking applications on my phone in the past and always found them to be a bit unwieldy. There's evidence that tracking consumption can help us make healthier choices ( ) so I'll be happy to give Google's new feature a try - it seems very user friendly.
Although now I've just Googled for the nutritional content of the candy bar I just ate and I'm not entirely disappointed to see that they haven't populated all foods - or at least not Twix - yet. Not sure I want to know how many calories I just consumed!

Paritosh - 14 Jun 2013, 5:43 p.m.

Generalization, this has been basis of all the developments by humanity... The problem is, it is not right approach. What works on one's body, usually doesn't work as well for others. What is required a conscious approach on understanding ones own body.

Biggest example is the presence of white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissues in individuals, reason why 2 person eating the same quantity, one remains slim while other gains mass...

Try this perspective ;o)

Daniel Martin Eckhart - 17 Jun 2013, 7:29 a.m.

There are those who increasingly frown upon Google - mainly because it becomes ever more powerful and with Google being what it is, that power scares many. I tend to look at it differently. Please, Google, feel free to know all you want about me and keep delivering ever better stuff to humanity. Google Search, Email, Images and even Maps are basics today. Remember when you could NOT Google something, when you could not just look up the map, check directions and distances, find the best route? But there's ever so much more Google does - how about the translate feature that more and more people use... and how about this - Google providing balloon-powered internet access?

Everything available at a glance, at our fingertips, with a single click ... in many ways, Google makes the world better - and this Calories feature, as simple as it seems, may just turn out to be quite a powerful addition that may indeed assist people in making more conscious choices ... and if that conscious choice is a Twix, then that's fine, too!

Aspasia Angelakopoulou - 17 Jun 2013, 10:39 a.m.

Well, I love Google, I use it everyday for so many things. Its continuously increasing power does not scare me at all...on the other hand it makes me feel happier because I know that there are so many things that can make my life easier out there..This latest nutritional development will benefit lots of people I believe because it will make food information so much more easier to access..but bear in mind that they just launched this app last Monday so they are starting with basic foods and more complex ones are on the way (from what I have read so far)...a TWIX is therefore not that far away ;)

Nicola Oliver - 18 Jun 2013, 11:47 a.m.

It's an interesting fact that despite the seemingly widely understood message that diet and disease are associated, that the rates of obesity and diabetes are increasing and are set to continue to do so. There is some belief that the message is delivered in the wrong way, and that those most in need of the support are the least likely to seek it. Maybe this app could reach these individuals. An interesting study conducted at St. Mary's in Paddington used second life avatar interaction to support a weight loss and exercise programme for participants and showed promising early results. The motivation to get along to an exercise class or stick to a diet seemed the biggest hurdle for participants, which they didn't feel when participating in the exercise 'class' on-line, so dealing with an app which the individual controls in a much more private manner may be the answer for some.

If you would like to leave a comment, please, log in.