When dieting for fat loss, it's CRITICAL you know how many calories you're taking in each day.
This knowledge is what allows you to adjust your food intake so you can adjust as you need to and drop fat. Without knowing how many calories you're taking in, you're basically guessing.
Speaking for myself, I'm not a big fan of traditional calorie counting…weighing individual pieces of food then going to a food chart and trying to figure out exactly how many calories or grams of carbs, protein or fats a food contains.
I don't like doing it (and I know I'm not alone) yet I know for a fact that many people NEED that feedback of calorie counting to know how much they're eating in order to be successful with fat loss.
For me, the key is calorie AWARENESS, not calorie counting. You need to know how much you're eating in order to get your best results. If you can gauge it yourself, you're set. But if you CAN'T gauge it reasonably accurately yourself, you NEED to count calories.
So it was with great interest that I tested out a product called the "EatSmart Nutrition Scale."
The premise of this scale is simple: instead just giving you just a simple weight like most food scales do when you put a piece of food on them, this scale also CALCULATES the calories AND nutrients in the food, too (like vitamins and minerals)!
This saves you the time and effort of digging through food charts and busting out the calculator to try and add things up yourself (which, for me is the main thing holding me back from doing it - I just don't have time!).
The "EatSmart" scale is basically a labor-saving device designed to do all the adding and calculating FOR you.
So is this fancy new scale effective for what it attempts to do? Is it worth the price over and above what a normal food scale costs?
How The EatSmart Nutrition Scale Works
The operation of the scale is really quite simple. You can take an apple, set it right on the glass scale surface, punch in the 3 digit code for apple (there are 999 food codes built into the product - it also includes a printed list of all these codes), and BAM, you get a readout showing calories, carbs, fats, and other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, that type of thing).
The best part is, you're basing the calculations on the ACTUAL piece of food you're weighing - this is not a random, generic piece of chicken breast that contains an average number of calories. This is the chicken breast you're going to eat RIGHT NOW and the scale calculates exactly how many calories THIS piece of chicken has.
Another great feature of this product is the ability to punch in the nutritional information found on packages and use THAT to calculate nutrition in the serving you're about to eat.
Take a bowl of cereal, for example. Want to know how many calories the "normal" bowl of cereal you have in the morning really has? Set the bowl on the scale (set it to zero to remove bowl weight first), pour in your cereal and enter the nutritional info on the side of the box and up pops the full nutritional profile on the ACTUAL serving you're about to eat.
This will visually SHOW you exactly how many calories are in YOUR normal serving sizes, not what the serving size is written on the box. This is a great feedback tool and an eye-opener.
Now, in my experience with the scale, all this was VERY easy to do. If you can set stuff on a scale and push a couple of buttons, you'll be able to handle this. It's not like you push the wrong button and it slings your mashed potatoes across the room or anything like that.
The Downsides of the EatSmart Nutrition Scale
The downsides of this scale are very few and very small compared to the potential benefits of this product.
it's NOT a cheap scale, by any stretch of the imagination. At a manufacturers-suggested list price of $60, it's definitely at the top end of food scale prices. That being said, it's also definitely NOT your average food scale. It's very solidly built and can support heavy food items. And, of course, the digital calculation functions of the scale are the main reason for the increased cost.
2. LCD Screen Can Be Hard To Read In Dim Lighting
I came up with a solution to this problem on my own…put the scale in BRIGHT lighting. Like I mentioned above, these are SMALL things.
3. Food Database Is Not Searchable
This would only really be a problem if you lose the booklet that contains the list of food codes (and even then, it's posted on the EatSmart website so you can print another one out any time). It would be nice to have some sort of built-in search feature (perhaps with a small keypad) where you could type in the names of the foods instead of having to find your food codes in the list.
On the flip-side, incorporating this sort of "computer-like" interface for the product would definitely increase the cost of the scale and possibly make things actually HARDER to find than a simple printed manual (is hamburger under beef, ground beef or burger?). Maybe somebody will find a way to hack it into their iPhone…
You'll also find as you repeat your food choices, you'll start to get familiar with the food codes, committing your more frequent food selections to memory.
Is The EatSmart Nutrition Scale Effective?
Absolutely. In fact, the beauty of the "EatSmart Nutrition Scale" is NOT that it weighs your food and calculates all the nutrients. That's what the product DOES.
It's what the product TEACHES you that's so very valuable.
You see, as you use the scale, you'll start to learn just how many calories are actually IN the portions that you're eating. And then you'll be able to adjust your food intake accordingly.
This instant feedback is INCREDIBLY valuable if you don't instinctively have awareness of how many calories are in your normal serving sizes. Most people either overestimate calories in foods and eat too little or underestimate calories and eat too much. BOTH have an impact on fat loss.
Think of it this way…with MOST nutrition and diet programs, the only feedback you get is on the scale and in the mirror. This is NOT accurate or instant at all.
But when you put an apple on the scale and it says "127 calories," you know EXACTLY what that means for your diet.
Heck, if you put an entire pizza on the scale and it starts smoking, lights start flashing and sirens go off....you'll know what THAT means for your diet…
Bottom line, this is an EXCELLENT tool for gauging caloric intake and one that I, even not being keen on calorie-counting as I am, found to be quite useful.
To quote Homer Simpson, "It teaches you while you learn."
Soon, with that constant and instant feedback, you'll have AWARENESS of how many calories are in any given food you're eating, especially those you're familiar with. And you'll be able to adjust your diet accordingly, right there on the spot, to meet your fat-loss goals.
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