Keep an easy eye on the calories being clocked up... A new software will help do all that and more. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: By far the biggest contributors to chronic illnesses is bad nutrition.

This includes eating a high calorie diet, as well as meals with lots of sugar, ingredients that are found in sodas and gummy bears, canned processed foods, and white flour just to name a few of the top culprits.

When eating out in the UAE, it's not common at all to see calorie count on the menu. However Dubai restaurants are being encouraged to become more nutritionally conscious. The UAE’s National Agenda for 2021, has an objective for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Last year, Dubai Municipality announced that food establishments in Dubai should declare the calorie content of all ready-to-eat food items in their menu. The rule was applicable to restaurants, cafeterias and cafes with more than five branches.

However, two months later, in July, the Dubai government then deferred the mandatory rule for food outlets to publish calories by two years and it has become voluntary.

Seven sisters
Dubai Municipality's initiative is to get food establishments to be fully transparent in declaring calories on all food served or sold. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Realistically speaking, it isn’t easy for restaurants to actually know the calories in each of their ingredients. At the end of the day, they are chefs. Not dieticians or professional nutritionists.

However, the region’s first food data intelligence software launches in the UAE.

NutriCal aims to equip food businesses with relevant information they can use to attract the health-conscious. The  portal provides automatically generated nutritional fact labels as per FDA guidelines in English and Arabic, 'macros' in the menu, and break-up of each of the recipes.

Nutri Cal
Know what you eat... The new software not just helps with deciding what to pick or order.

Soniya Ashar of NutriCal said, “Food service providers and food delivery companies that display nutritional and caloric information for menu items are allowing customers to take better control of their wellbeing.”

The system has data of over 25,000 ingredients.