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Reviews > Nutritional Scales

Tony's Dad tests several nutrition scales and finds out that the most expensive is not necessarily the best.

A digital nutrition scale can be incredibly handy in tracking nutritional intake.  A cousin to an ordinary digital kitchen scale, a digital nutrition scale also contains a database with nutrient data for hundreds of common food items and has the ability to calculate the nutrients in a food sample based on its weight.  Need to know how many grams of carbohydrate are in a in given banana?  Set the digital food scale for bananas, place the peeled banana on the platform, and the display will show you the answer.

Here at we bought seven different nutrition scales ranging in price from $37 to $86.  Each scale, at a minimum, can calculate the kilocalories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber and protein contained in hundreds of foods.  And each scale can keep a running total of the nutrients from several different items, reset to zero (tare) and turn off automatically to save battery life.

For the majority of digital nutrition scales a food item is selected from the database by entering a three-digit code on the scale's keypad.  The code comes from a reference list that is included as part of a scale's users manuals.  The exceptions are the nutrition scales made by Salter.  For the Salter scales, the name of the food is spelled out using the letters on the numeric keypad's keys, something akin to text messaging.  Once enough of the name is spelled out to get the scale close to the desired item in the list, the arrow keys can be used to move to the exact item.  Both methods of selecting an item from the database have advantages and disadvantages.  With the Salter method, there is no book to lose and no searching through a book for the right code.  On the other hand, a three digit code, when already known, can be entered quickly, and a user can easily memorize or make notes of the most-often-used codes.

Some of the digital nutrition scales have the ability to make calculations beyond what is contained in their fixed database, to be programmed with data from nutritional labels.  With one glaring exception, these customizable scales were among our favorites.  Our other favorite wins its spot by virtue of its portability.

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