Calorie-Counting Machines “Won’t Help People Lose Weight”

The creators with their gadget

The creators with their gadget

Are you a gadget nerd, like me? And interested in what is actually in the foods that we eat? Then this hand-held molecular scanner (á la Star Trek) is a cool new thing.

Check out this brief video:

We’ll see how reliable it actually is. It can be ordered for $249 but the estimated shipping date is not until February 2016. I did order one and if it really is useful – or just fun – I’ll write a post about it here.

Of course whether it will be useful for dieters depend on how you use it. The ability to assist in calorie counting is likely to not help much, for all the usual reasons:

The Guardian: Calorie-counting machines won’t help people lose weight

On the other hand checking food items for the amount of adding sugar in them would at least be fun, and possibly even helpful. There may come a time when these sort of devices are exact enough to trust more than the label on a package.

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7 Comments

  1. MarciOnline
    So this will be like any other positive bias trial? If it works, you'll talk about it, but if it doesn't, you'll bury it? Isn't this problem enough in the area of nutrition? Why enable positive bias reports? Just wondering. Isn't more important for people to know in fact that it doesn't work?
    Reply: #2
  2. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    I also hope that Andreas makes a short post and tell us if it' useless so I can avoid buying it, in that case.

    /Peter Team DietDoctor

  3. Bob Niland
    Here are some observations I made on another blog last month ...

    On the "SCIO" branding, I guess “tricorder” was already taken. Anyway, product is still in kickstarter phase. It works on spectroscopy of absorbed/reflected NIR, under an app running your your mobile device. The app evidently does not perform the spectral analysis, but sends the raw data back to ConsumerPhysics. Their servers analyze it, and compare it to their {growing} database. See also:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-infrared_spectroscopy

    I can see this being really really useful for a variety of things, but testing food might not be one of them right away. It can only identify things with catalog spectra, and only to the depth of IR penetration and reflection.

    Their own FAQ admits that it will be unreliable for anything present at less than 1% concentration (so then perhaps of no use to celiacs). They are specifically disclaiming use for detecting allergens. This may be either because they are allergic to the FDA, or because the device is really iffy for that use.

    With foods, pretty much every dish is going to have a unique (and data-noisy) spectrum. Apart from the 1% problem, sheer complexity and molecular metamerism are going to be challenges.

    It’s a development worth watching. I don’t know that I would place an early $250 bet on it. I'm glad Andreas is.

  4. N
    It reminds be of Star Trek. Doc would wave his hand held analyzer over a sick or injured person and viola, a diagnosis.
  5. Henrik
  6. chris c
    I'm thinking how many pheasants, brussels sprouts, chestnuts and other good things to eat I could get for $249 . . .
  7. Eric
    Can the scan report back olive oil, adulterated olive oil, omega 6 corn oil in a timely or time delay d manner? Can it distinguish between all Pepsi and have water half pepsi. Margarine or all butter?

    a device with similar claims was exposed a few years ago as either a hox, fraud, or not as promis d data base search (Not a spectrum scan)
    Eric

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