Alumni Directory

Li-Shan Eva Tao
Online MS, Spring 2010

Home Dept: LOMIS

MS Dissertation title: SugarWall 1.0

MS Advisor(s): Stephen Gilbert and Anthony Townsend

Area of MS research: Sugar is a key nutrient in the human body. Beyond flavoring our meals, it plays a central metabolic role and is also the sole energy source of the human brain. However, the way we refine sugar can alter its health impact from helpful to harmful. A research study recently discovered that a high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) diet increased body weight in mice by 48 percent over a normal diet after six months, and could thus cause high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes and cancer. Currently, 40% of caloric sweeteners used in the United States are HFCS (Bocarsly, Powell, Avena, & Hoebel, 2010). Americans consume 60 pounds of sweetener which amounts to 24 pounds of HFCS per person annually. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity. Today, according to the CDC reported, that figure is now 30 percent. Therefore, investigation of sugar types is important. SugarWall 1.0 is a sugar firewall system that protects our health from diseases and health conditions caused by excess dietary sugar or artificial sweeteners. The purpose of the project is to provide a mobile device interface design that enables users to make better nutritional decisions in real-time while grocery shopping. The device scans product imagery and barcodes and warns the consumer about negative impacts on health. Consider a customer using SugarWall 1.0 to reduce excess sugar from his or her diet. When there are many bread options to choose from, the user scans the products by using their cell phone and quickly determines which brand is the best option. On the Nutrition Facts, an example loaf of bread contains 1g of sugar which is considered low. However, the GI is 73 2 (Foster-Powell, Holt, & Brand-Miller, 2002) out of 100, which is high and bad for diabetics. Moreover, the ingredient high-fructose corn syrup is a low quality sugar that should be avoided. This study will focus on the system design, and provide future design suggestions based on users' feedback.

Employment upon graduating:
academicPhD student
Iowa State University
Ames, IA

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