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DAYTON, Ohio _ Back in the good old days (like a couple years ago), dieters used notebooks or calorie-counting charts to track their daily food consumption.
In the digital age, of course, nothing is worth doing unless you can do it on some kind of electronic memory device. That's where the Robi Nutrition Assistant comes in.
The Nutrition Assistant is a pocket-sized, calculator-type device that lists the calories, fat, carbohydrates and proteins in foods.
As the user eats, he or she enters the foods consumed into the Nutrition Assistant, and the device compares the daily food intake to the goals the user has set.
The device comes already programmed with nutritional information for 834 common foods from "alcohol hard 90 proof" to "zucchini raw sliced."
The memory includes information on some popular fast foods such as a McDonald's quarter pounder with cheese, but it is by no means comprehensive.
Enter "chicken drumstick no skin fried" and the device will tell you that a 3-ounce serving has 166 calories, 6.9 grams of fat and 24.3 grams of protein.
The user then adds the other items consumed in a particular sitting to get a total for the meal.
If the particular food being consumed isn't already in the Nutrition Assistant's memory, the user can add nutritional information for up to about 100 commonly eaten items to the unit's memory.
That will be fairly easy for packaged foods, which come with nutritional information on the package, but some foods may require a little research.
The total consumption for each day can be recorded in the device's memory, along with a set of nutritional goals.
Once the daily intake is recorded, the device will allow the user to track performance on diet goals over a 31-day period.
A Nutrition Assistant tested by the Dayton Daily News proved a little difficult to master, and not all of the commands were intuitive.
To find peanuts on the unit's food list, one has to type in "nuts peanuts" instead of simply "peanuts."
The Nutrition Assistant weighs just under 3 ounces and measures 4 1/2 by 3 inches and is less than a half-inch thick, so it is convenient to carry around.
The keyboard keys are a comfortable size to use, and the display screen is easy to read.
The Nutrition Assistant sells for $39.95.
For additional information or to place an order, call (888) 289-7624 or visit www.nutritionassistant.com.
James Cummings writes for the Dayton Daily News. E-mail: jcumming@aytonDailyNews.com
Cox News Service