From online food diaries, like MyFitnessPal, to old school calorie-counting programs, such as Weight Watchers, there’s no dearth of easy-to-use nutritional information calculators out there. (Even Google’s on our side with its handy nutrition comparison tool.) But, whether you’re in the kilocal tracking camp or not, we can probably all agree — tracking meals is kind of a huge pain in the ass.
SITU, an intuitive new food scale and app hailing from the UK, plans to take out some of the guesswork of the calorie-counting conundrum. The “Smart Food Nutrition Scale,” fully equipped with a Bluetooth chip, promises to track calories plus other nutritional stats, including salt, sugar, fat, carbs, protein, and fiber. Currently, the scale’s founders are waiting on investor backing to make this thing go commercial — and they don't have be millionaires to get involved. At around $120, donors can access the current prototype of the scale.
The one clear pitfall of the scale is that it doesn’t do all the work for us (the horror!) — users must enter each type of food being measured. But, we have to hand it to the scale for adding one clear-cut advantage to calorie counting: super-accurate serving sizes. As a former on-and-off MyFitnessPal user, I definitely struggled with guessing how much milk I poured into my cereal or how many grapes I threw down the hatch (unless I used measuring cups or obsessively counted).
With the SITU scale, users measure the exact weight of each ingredient, down to the banana slices in that cereal bowl. (The trick is to zero out the scale after each ingredient, then drag and drop onto their “plate” to see stats for the whole meal. For common ingredients, the app features an “Ingredients Drawer” with pre-measured foods so there’s no need to weigh every tablespoon of olive oil or pinch of pepper. Again, this isn’t some sort of Jetson-esque robot technology (if you want to calculate a slice of pizza from your local Pizza Hut, you’ll still have to link to the company’s nutrition info), but the scale and proposed app add an extra dash of accuracy to the whole process.
While there’s an ongoing debate over the social and health implications of counting every single calorie consumed, research does suggest that tracking meals can be a smart, mindful way to lose or maintain weight. This scale could be that added push in the right direction.