Digital hand-held nutritional monitor
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A portable hand-held device that incorporates a digital bar-code reader, memory for data storage, and usb port could be used with appropriate programming to monitor nutritional intake with real-time convenience. The reader would allow a user to scan the product's bar code for identificantion of the food, and then search its database for "nutrition-fact" data for the product to give a running total of nutritional intake over a day or other time increment.
This would require a digital database of packaged foods with their "nutrition facts" on the device, and also ideally easily downloadable updates for users. Periodic updating of the database through the usb port would allow new products to be added or old ones modified. The ability to select generic foods, like fruits, vegetables and meats, easily would be necessary.
A desirable feature would be to allow users to program a diet and download it to the device, so that a running total of calories, carbs, proteins, fats, etc. could be maintained through the day, and even suggestions made about foods that would stay within the diet for a given meal. Uploading of actual intake data from day-to-day could be used for longer term assessment and correlations to weight-loss or other health issues like diabetes, or high cholesterol levels.