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Now You Can Read Your Food!

A point-and-click device allows consumers to see the protein, fat and carbohydrate content of the food they are about to consume.

| BY Kent McDill

Some people do not like to eat alone without something to read.

Now they can read their food.

A new device, the size of a cigarette lighter, can determine the nutrient content of food and transmit the nutritional information to a smartphone so that consumers can know for sure they are eating what they want to eat.  

The device, named SCIO, was developed through a Kickstarter program by an Israeli startup company Consumer Physics and when it hits the market it will retail for $149. The first models will be shipped to the company investors sometime in 2014.

The product uses spectrometry to read the molecular content of any food product, using infra-red light which stimulates the molecules so they can be read. Using an accompanying app installed on a smartphone, the nutrient values are displayed on screen, including measurements for fat content, protein and carbohydrate levels down to the milligram.

RELATED: The Netherlands is Tops For Feeding Its People Well.

The technology is not new. It’s the same technology that has been used in the food industry for years to measure nutritional value. The SCIO is the first spectrometer to be made available to consumers.

“I often meet people who don’t know what’s in cheese, fruit and vegetables and have a hard time discerning what they should eat,’’ CEO of Consumer Physics Dror Sharon told CNN. “I think this can be empowering if people want to change their intake, whether for medical reasons or training, and can be educational in teaching us to make better nutrional choices.”

The company suggests other applications for the product, including analyzing the health of houseplants or determining if anyone has spiked an alcohol beverage at a social club or function.

Consumer Physics is not the only company developing such handheld devices. A Canadian company, TellSpec, plans to have a personal spectrometer on the market later in 2014, and companies are developing calorie-sensing wristbands as well.

Sharon warns the SCIO device is not yet sufficiently calibrated to serve as a detection device for food allergy sufferers. 

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.