Handy Diet Method
A simple scientific system

Understanding how much to eat, without scales

Various dietes indicate the hand or palm as a practical unit of reference. But the dimensions of hands may vary from people to people and it is then necessary to standardize them to represent a unit of measurement. Handy Diet is the first software to do so. By means of a 3D scanner, thousands of anthropometric parameters have been acquired to calculate food portions according to hand size.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art” is one of the maxims written by François De La Rochefoucauld. Eating is an exquisitely human act. Human beings do not like to be confined to rigid schemes for a long time, we cannot ignore this aspect, making dietetic prescriptions too rigid: they become impossible to apply for long periods. The aim of a dietetic prescription and food education is to suggest changes that can be followed for ages, virtually forever.


Oliviero Sculati was the first to elaborate a diet by volumes, based also on the size of the hand. He has organised professional courses with ADI (Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition) and also published various scientific articles 1 2 3 4 and chapters of books on his method 5 6 .

All that remained was to complete the creation of a software that could process a prescription by volumes with due accuracy, respecting the standard of accuracy required by nutritional science. In recent years, Michele Sculati, Oliviero’s son, has completed the development of a method that offers reasonable precision in dietetics by volume, first by creating HandyDiet and patenting the technology, then by continuing to publish scientific articles 7 8 .

  1. Sculati O. et al, A proposition to meal's volume measurement: volume estimation and dietetics consultation, La Rivista di scienza dell’alimentazione, 1999, vol. XXVIII, n. 2, pp. 121-134
  2. Sculati O. et al., New techniques in nutritional surveys and food educational programs: volumetric dietetics for portion size assessment, Ann Ig., 2003 Mar-Apr; 15 (2): pp. 135-46.
  3. Sculati. O., Misurare il cibo con… le mani. La dietetica per volumi, Media Aggiornamento e formazione in diabetologia e malattie metaboliche, periodico trimestrale patrocinato dall’Associazione Medici Diabetologi (AMD) e dalla Società di Medicina Generale (SIMG), 2003 Vol. III, n. 4, p. 233.
  4. Sculati O. et al., Ortaggi, frutta e legumi uno degli scudi protettivi per la salute. Apporti raccomandati e gestione delle quantità “a colpo d’occhio”, MeDia, periodico trimestrale patrocinato dall’Associazione Medici Diabetologi (AMD) e dalla Società di Medicina Generale (SIMG), 2004; 4: pp. 135-141.
  5. Sculati O., La dietetica per Volumi, in: Eugenio Del Toma, Prevenzione e terapia dietetica Una guida per medici e dietisti, Il pensiero Scientifico Editore, ISBN: 978-88-490-0109-9, 2005.
  6. Dietetica e Nutrizione, a cura di Maria Luisa Amerio, Giuseppe Fatati. Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, prima edizione del 2007, pp. 431-442.
  7. Geraci C. et al., I metodi volumetrici in dietetica preventiva e clinica, Rivista Italiana di Nutrizione e Metabolismo. Giu 2017, Vol. I, n. 1.
  8. Sculati M., Giberti H., Tarabini M., Method for evaluation of portion sizes based on 3D measurement of hands, Acta Paediatrica, in press.


Michele Sculati
Eng. Valentina Centurelli, software engineer: the software would never have been so fast if the architecture of the program had not been so accurately studied. For the patent, indispensable was the brilliant consultancy of Eng. Stefano Brunazzi, of Jacobacci & Partners.
In developing the software for 3D acquisition of the hand, with a practical and accurate method and tool, the help of Prof. Marco Tarabini (Politecnico in Milan) and Prof. Hermes Giberti (Politecnico in Pavia) was fundamental.
Dr.ssa Patrizia Gnagnarella of the European Institute of Oncology, who presided the first official presentation of the software.
When we think of a program, we do so with our usual logic which seems to us taken for granted but which for others may appear very complicated. Logic is traditionally a philosophical discipline and for this reason I wanted a philosopher, Dr.ssa Laura Zanolin, to take care of the logical aspects of the program.
The mind, my father Oliviero: his was the genial illumination. To translate his intuition into a daily tool of work has taken me years, years of unending satisfaction and pleasure.
Michele Sculati