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# Calo Meter

Informs consumers the exact amount of calories right before devouring the substance.
 (+1) [vote for, against]

Tired of estimating how many calories you are consuming each day? Made a random dish, and want to know how many cals fester in it? Now you can! In three different colours: black, white, and -- for the ladies -- pink, the Calo Meter is here.

Just type in the amount of food you are about to flavour. Next, put aside a small amount - a table spoon to be exact -- into the dish. Place the two prongs into the food and wait one minute and ten seconds. A number will be displayed, and that will inform you of the calories of the soon to be consumed.

This gizmo works by burning the food to count the amount of energy that is produced. It will then magnify it by the amount of food that will be eaten. And ta da, an answer appears!

No more guess-timating.

 — Athenaeum, Sep 19 2002

Energy Value of Foods http://www.nal.usda...a/Classics/ah74.pdf
Atwater method for determining calorie contents, as used by US Department of Agriculture. (PDF) [pottedstu, Sep 20 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/

Half Baked http://www.halfbake...utrition_20analyzer

Food and Diet http://www.foodanddiet.com
See the calorie count program on the right side of the home page. [hdlc, Oct 04 2004]

TGA/TCA calorimeter combo. http://www.fisk.edu...SC_TGA/dsc_tga.html
I've only done one at a time. [daseva, Sep 30 2006]

I think a better solution would to have some kind of calometer actually attached to your elf. That way it can accurately calculate how many calories you have (a) consumed since reset and (b) burnt off since reset. This gives you a running balance. I'm 300 calories under, let me take a bite of that Hersheys bar, oh blimey, I'm now 6000 calories over...
 — PeterSilly, Sep 20 2002

 Calorie content in food isn't measured by burning food, since components of food such as fibre (cellulose) are indigestible but would potentially burn well. The usual method is to measure the quantity of fat, carbohydrate and protein and use that to calculate a figure reflecting the amount of usable energy in the food.

 Having said that, a portable device that can test for fat, carbohydrate and protein shouldn't be too hard to make.

The only problem would be ensuring the sample presented to the calo meter mirrored the composition of the food as a whole (a bit of steak, some fries, some salad, some coke, etc, in the proportional amounts. You'd need to weigh/measure everything, which would be time-consuming.
 — pottedstu, Sep 20 2002

If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
 — phoenix, Sep 20 2002

Let the flames begin...
 — PeterSilly, Sep 20 2002

Polite Waiter: "This is a lot of food, where do you plan to put it all?"
Rude Waiter: "That plate is hot, but if you could pick it up you'd have an idea of how your scale is going to feel in the morning. Bon appetit!"
 — reensure, Sep 20 2002

 [pottedstu] "A portable device that can test for fat, carbohydrate and protein shouldn't be too hard to make."

You first. I've done this analysis twice, with a collaborator. It's not particularly difficult or esoteric, but it still took a blender, lots of glassware, quite some time and various rather noxious acids I wouldn't want in my handbag (although nowhere near as noxious as the smell of two-week old dried hamburger).
 — jutta, Sep 21 2002

I think you can burn the food, measure the heat, and subtract the energy of the fuel used to burn the food. That will tell you how many calories are in something.