Ever picked up a plate of biryani or samosa and wondered what it gives you besides the delicious taste? Fear not, your smartphone may soon be able to tell you the exact nutrient content of your favourite Indian food.

The government is in the process of developing an app which will inform users the nutrient and calorie content of the food they eat.

According to a senior official, a database of Indian foods and their nutritional content has already been prepared by the National Institute of Nutrition.

The official said the food composition tables is one of the few in the world.

“It gives you the nutrient content of every variety of rice, pulses, vegetables and fruits from all over the country.”

Keeping tabs

The Indian Food Composition Database, on the basis of which the app is being created, has taken into account 160 food constituents, including bioactive compounds, 528 foods from six different regions of the country.

The methodology used to develop this database was based on “key foods approach”, which constitute the principal food items that contribute up to 75 per cent of nutrient intake by the country’s population.

With the rapid rise in urban lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, health conscious city-dwellers have to take greater care of what they eat.

Building data

While online databases, apps and websites that give a break-up of calorie and nutrient content for various food types do exist, they do not have data for a wide variety of Indian cuisines and dishes. The app under development is expected to address this gap.

While creating the database, samples were collected by the institute from all over the country, tested and analysed to arrive at the comprehensive food composition tables.

“The question was how do we use this database to benefit the common man.

“We are creating an app where someone can know what nutrition is going in and then make an informed choice,” the official quoted above said.