Eating all the evidence;Subjects;IT Review

6th January 1995 at 00:00
Food feedback, Disc for IBM compatibles (386 and above). Dos and Windows versions. pound;30. The National Dairy Council, 5-7 John Princes Street, London W1M 0AP.

They say that to eat well in this country you have to eat breakfast four times a day. Whether that is a wise move is the subject of Food Feedback, a computer program which can analyse your diet.

The procedure is very easy: you record, or try to recall what you have eaten in the past week and then answer a series of questions on the computer. You'll then be asked whether you eat bread, which type of bread, how many slices, which spread, how thickly you use it and so on.

You'll find this slow going, taking some 10 minutes or so, but overall it is pretty painless as there is no need to work out exact weights and volumes. You will, of course, have to break down your macaroni cheese into pasta, milk and cheese and honestly declare your age and sex.

Once you've entered the week's food, several pages spew forth from the printer all telling you where your nutrients are coming from, what to eat more of and what to eat less of.

The report at the end is very clear but it is rather verbose. Sadly, there are no figures, graphs or any of the analysis you'd want for using as school work even at the lowest level. It would have a happier home in a doctor's surgery or public library.

Design-wise, the program is uninspired, and the Windows version features a clumsy installation program (which fouled up my system, thank you).

But make no mistake, a computer is the perfect tool for analysing diet and a suitable program would be very valuable in school, so it's a shame that this isn't it. Double shame so much money has gone into developing it too.

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