0

votes

How about a caloric and nutritional hand held scanner?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

I've heard rumors of a Star Trek-like device that may be pointed at a gourmet dish to instantaneously flash (1) caloric content; and (2) nutritional profile. Probably only that - a rumor.

But wouldn't it be nice to have a device that could scan a given mystery dish same way NASA does spectral analysis of distant star to reveal its chemical composition?

Such an invention would likely help end the obesity epidemic while also allow the health optimizers to do precision optimization.

Calories
For example, in terms of quantity, I probably wouldn't have trouble stop at a given number, say, 2,000 calories, were a device to track total calorie consumed for the day. But no such precise feedback mechanism exists. The body's innate feedback system is accurate only within unacceptable margin of error, or prone to get fooled (e.g., according to Dr. Lustig, by fructose).

Even with a rigid, daily routine with home cooking, I could probably only reduce the margin of error of estimate to say, 10%. And if I eat out it's over. Faced with a combo restaurant dish topped with mystery sauce, it's anyone's guess whether it contains 480, 700, or 1,050 calorie.

And on the outgoing side in terms of caloric usage by the body, again, the lack of precision feedback mechanism.

How are Americans expected to scientifically maintain caloric balance without feedback? And avoid tendency to incrementally add 5 or 10 lb a year? Guesswork too much. The average person simply doesn't know how much is coming in or going out.

Nutrition
Same problem with nutrients except worse due to large number of nutrients and greater variance in amount. Foods seem much more heterogeneous in nutritional profile (e.g. due to soil type) than in calorie. The same with supplements - no one really knows the efficacy of a given supplement brand without doing before and after labs.

92d67b02a709cad2250f10848f9178e6

(2422)

on May 02, 2013
at 12:52 PM

wth............

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:16 PM

Otherwise I'd want one of those scanners and a plane so I could tell it to tell me whenever I fly over some precious metals... I would be really rich if I had that, you could make millions with that in Alaska. Maybe I'm missing something but how are you gonna measure a vitamin like k2 in food which to my knowledge requires a chemical reaction to accurately measure it. Unless you have some sort of article, all I'm saying is that ATM, this seems like a cool idea, but highly improbable without significant advances.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:13 PM

Yes, programming a computer to play chess is impressive. I wrote a program once that would never lose at tic tac toe. I assumed you would take a picture of the food and estimate its calories and vitamins/minerals, but you're proposing that it actually shines emf frequencies at a food to get this information. This is even more impractical with current limitations. Even the incredibly expensive technology we use to measure things far away in space can't tell you the mineral content inside of a surface to my knowledge.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:48 PM

E.g., a high end model might send out various EMF frequencies, including infrared, or physical "sonar-like" waves to gauge density, and have sensors decipher the meaning, and so forth.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:33 PM

That is, a device can identify food composition far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate bulk/weight more accurately. Also make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also considerably better than a human, although many of same estimation problems remain. The most interesting may lie in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, or to ascertain if beef is truly grass-fed, etc.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:33 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate bulk/weight more accurately. Also make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also considerably better than a human, although many of same estimation problems remain. The most interesting may lie in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, or to ascertain if beef is truly grass-fed, etc.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:31 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate weight more accurately. Also certainly could make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also far better than a human, although many of same problems remain. The best hope may be in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, etc., or maybe ascertain if beef is truly grass-fed.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:29 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate weight more accurately. Also certainly could make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also better than a human, although many of same problems. The best hope may be in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, etc. – diabeticbinger 0 secs ago

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:27 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, properly programmed. It could also estimate weight more accurately. It certainly could make better estimate of calorie. And nutrient profile, it would do better than a human, although same problems. The best hope is in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might respond to certain frequencies shone at it, etc.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:25 PM

In the area of chess software, any knowledge a human grandmaster has is systematized into a program that is like a collective of grandmaster wisdom. Which kills the best human players nowadays. What the human visual system can do, by inspection, automated software programmed with heuristics can do far better. Plus, all sorts of sensors may be possible to discern chemical and detect frequencies specific to certain compounds, to make positive ID of food, estimate bulk, and compute caloric content.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 22, 2013
at 04:35 PM

Well I suppose simply think of a volume of meat cubed. Or better buy some meat of a certain weight and remember its relative size. But who actually weighs their food over purchasing a selected weight? Most packaged steaks in the UK are around 200g - 400g, so two of those would give me around 800kcals tops and under 600kcals of protein (for nitrogen balance sake): http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/protein-for-athletes/

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on January 22, 2013
at 03:05 PM

I'm not trying to diminish any of your points... Just have to say - what a redundant measuring stadnard the cup seems to be in the context of meat. Fancy trying to eyeball/fit a steak or something into a cup!

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5 Answers

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1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:44 AM

Personally from experience if you were to eat whole foods and maintain the general high-fat, medium protein, low carbohydrate diet; you will by default probably eat less calories then you think you are.

2 cups (350g) of cooked starchy vegetables.........: 400kcals
2.5 cups (450g) of cooked meats....................: 800kcals
5 cups (400g) green leafy or cruciferous vegetables: 100kcals (or less)

The average generally active 80kg man would then need around 150g - 200g (15 tablespoons) of fat to bring him into the 2500kcal range.

So what I am saying is that the average person who eats a whole food diet of 3/4 plant foods, 1/4 animal foods, will find it hard to be in calorie excess. Especially if they are not specifically aiming to get 50% - 70% of their daily calories in as fats.

Part of the problem with people switching to an ancestral diet is getting their heads round eating more fat, especially if they are very active. I believe in the most part people lose weight early on because they are at a calorific deficit after lowering the carbohydrate/sugar. It's the reintroduction of fat calories that people have to guage for themselves long-term, and this can be tricky.

Though problems can arise when people start eating handfuls of nuts every hour thinking they are just fibre (100g of cashews is about 500kcals) but even so, you have to do this consistently to actually cause a problem.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 22, 2013
at 04:35 PM

Well I suppose simply think of a volume of meat cubed. Or better buy some meat of a certain weight and remember its relative size. But who actually weighs their food over purchasing a selected weight? Most packaged steaks in the UK are around 200g - 400g, so two of those would give me around 800kcals tops and under 600kcals of protein (for nitrogen balance sake): http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/protein-for-athletes/

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on January 22, 2013
at 03:05 PM

I'm not trying to diminish any of your points... Just have to say - what a redundant measuring stadnard the cup seems to be in the context of meat. Fancy trying to eyeball/fit a steak or something into a cup!

3
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 22, 2013
at 03:08 PM

Lol, as a programmer I'd have to say, how are you going to write a program that will visually identify how much or what kind of fat was used? Is that liver mixed in with the steak? The calorie thing would be way more realistic than the nutritional profile, getting the nutrients from a picture is impossible as far as I know even with humans. And calories would be a best guess, how can you know by visual alone if that is low fat dressing? Or what specific kind of oil that is, canola or olive oil? See what I'm saying?

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:27 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, properly programmed. It could also estimate weight more accurately. It certainly could make better estimate of calorie. And nutrient profile, it would do better than a human, although same problems. The best hope is in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might respond to certain frequencies shone at it, etc.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:48 PM

E.g., a high end model might send out various EMF frequencies, including infrared, or physical "sonar-like" waves to gauge density, and have sensors decipher the meaning, and so forth.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:13 PM

Yes, programming a computer to play chess is impressive. I wrote a program once that would never lose at tic tac toe. I assumed you would take a picture of the food and estimate its calories and vitamins/minerals, but you're proposing that it actually shines emf frequencies at a food to get this information. This is even more impractical with current limitations. Even the incredibly expensive technology we use to measure things far away in space can't tell you the mineral content inside of a surface to my knowledge.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:29 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate weight more accurately. Also certainly could make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also better than a human, although many of same problems. The best hope may be in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, etc. – diabeticbinger 0 secs ago

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:33 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate bulk/weight more accurately. Also make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also considerably better than a human, although many of same estimation problems remain. The most interesting may lie in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, or to ascertain if beef is truly grass-fed, etc.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:31 PM

That is, a device can identify food content far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate weight more accurately. Also certainly could make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also far better than a human, although many of same problems remain. The best hope may be in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, etc., or maybe ascertain if beef is truly grass-fed.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:33 PM

That is, a device can identify food composition far better than a human, if properly programmed. It would also estimate bulk/weight more accurately. Also make better estimate of calorie. And as to nutrient profile, also considerably better than a human, although many of same estimation problems remain. The most interesting may lie in area of pesticide detection; that certain chemicals might give off or respond to certain frequencies shone at it, or to ascertain if beef is truly grass-fed, etc.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on January 22, 2013
at 07:16 PM

Otherwise I'd want one of those scanners and a plane so I could tell it to tell me whenever I fly over some precious metals... I would be really rich if I had that, you could make millions with that in Alaska. Maybe I'm missing something but how are you gonna measure a vitamin like k2 in food which to my knowledge requires a chemical reaction to accurately measure it. Unless you have some sort of article, all I'm saying is that ATM, this seems like a cool idea, but highly improbable without significant advances.

24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on January 22, 2013
at 06:25 PM

In the area of chess software, any knowledge a human grandmaster has is systematized into a program that is like a collective of grandmaster wisdom. Which kills the best human players nowadays. What the human visual system can do, by inspection, automated software programmed with heuristics can do far better. Plus, all sorts of sensors may be possible to discern chemical and detect frequencies specific to certain compounds, to make positive ID of food, estimate bulk, and compute caloric content.

1
6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 22, 2013
at 02:42 PM

I think it's very presumptive to say that this would help the obesity epidemic. The obese are not stupid. They are not kidding themselves that they are eating healthy when they are not. Nobody eats a Big Mac or a big plate of fettucini alfredo thinking it is low calorie. I don't believe this device would help with anything at all, but would certainly bring out the OCD in some.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 22, 2013
at 12:51 PM

It's called the internet. There are dozens of calorie counting websites. Some with apps for your phone that let you scan bar codes on foods. Falling a little short when it comes to whole foods though. Still, logging food takes mere minutes per day for me. Some do more nutrients than others. Find one you like to use.

-1
Ba19a9bb54c278f684eb959b7fbe9ed5

on May 02, 2013
at 08:01 AM

Among all the detecting activities, gold metal detecting is the most interesting one. It can not only relax both our mind and body, but also give us a big fortune if we are lucky enough. Next time when you feel bored, you can pick up a gold detector and have a try.

92d67b02a709cad2250f10848f9178e6

(2422)

on May 02, 2013
at 12:52 PM

wth............

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