Sensor can detect, measure foods

- Whether you're eating in or dining out, dietitian Sarah Krieger often recommends keeping a food journal, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

"I see so many clients incorrectly logging their foods and they're like, 'I don't know what I'm doing wrong,'" she said.

This problem could be solved by Scio -- a pocket-sized food sensor.  Inside the sensor is a tiny spectrometer. Consumer physics, makers of Scio, says the spectrometer emits a beam of light. The light is split into a spectrum, sent to the cloud using an app on your phone, where the molecular makeup is analyzed in a matter of seconds. 

Sarah and I were both using the sensor for the first time. We found distance mattered and some foods, like plain yogurt, didn't fully match up to its label.

Company president Dror Sharon tells us the device is accurate up to 20 percent, plus or minus the true values -- the same criteria required of food manufacturers for their labeling.

The scanner is pre-set to use a standard portion size so you'll still need to do some calculations

It doesn't work for foods with lots of different components, like pizza, but it will sense the percentage of cacao in chocolate and water content for some foods.

Sarah says that capability is unique in a portable device.

"Seeing the amount of water in something is something you can't get on a food scale, so its pretty cool to see how much of food is water," she explained.

But there were also some drawbacks.

"People want a machine to do the work for them so to have to do an additional math in your head. That kind of defeats the purpose," Sharon said.

She also believes it might be useful for electronic logs or for those just getting started.

"Looking at food after a while, you can guesstimate a little bit, but for first-timers getting on the weight-loss lifestyle, this would be a tool to use to really see how much you're eating," she said.

The company also has a scale that works with the sensor. Both the sensor and scale together cost around $300 with a monthly subscription fee, starting around $8 a month.

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