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Photonics Spectra
Mar 2005
Can a camera phone help keep you trim? Perhaps, if it helps to keep track of what you eat.


Central to most diets is an awareness of indulgences so as to curb them. However, it is easy to be less than complete in a food diary. You may list the fish and asparagus on the dinnerplate, yet somehow forget to include the hollandaise, or duly note the lean turkey and lettuce sandwich for lunch, but neglect to mention the pickle and chips. Sometimes, you don’t have your notebook on hand, so you can’t be expected to jot down the chocolates from the box on your colleague’s desk or the pastries served at the morning meeting.

Now you can just whip out the ever-present cell phone and snap a picture of those meals and snacks. For a small weekly fee, an online program from Nutrax Inc. records the image, estimates its contents and does the math -- toting up and storing calorie counts and nutritional information. Back at the laptop, you can counterbalance this food history by adding exercise info. (Funny that it is easier to remember to log what one is proud of.) For a heftier fee, the company offers personalized feedback and nutritional advice from a dietitian.

Another way to use the phone for slimming -- without the fee and the online tracking -- might be to hold it at arm’s length and click photos of your tummy several times a day. Then hang the printouts on the ol’ refrigerator door.

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