Can the Bite Tracker Help You Find Weight Loss Success?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/5/2011 10:00 AM   :  59 comments   :  11,851 Views

As we seek to make our diet our own, success many times comes after trying a variety of approaches and tools. There are many tools intended to help people balance their energy in, energy out equation. Tachometers and clocks on work out equipment help measure work out time and pace. Pedometers measure steps while heart rate monitors appraise exercise intensity. Food scales, food trackers, recipe calculators, and nutrition labels provide ways to monitor energy intake.

Now there is a new tool called the Bite Counter that has come into the tool belt of weight management. Clemson University professors have created the device to help people track wrist-rolling motions taken during a meal or snack. Just as a pedometer helps provide data about steps, the Bite Counter will provide information about bites. So is this new tool something worth the potentially heavy price tag in the battle with weight?

The wrist tracker focuses on the natural rolling motion that occurs in the wrist as the arm moves downward, gathers food, and transfers it to the mouth. The idea of automating the counting process is to provide an easy monitoring tool that provides information to help guide goal setting. Just as stride length and pedometer counts are individual, so will the bite tracking counts. People that eat larger amounts of food of lower energy density will most likely have a higher bite count compared to individuals that eat more energy-dense foods. Likewise, someone that takes larger bites at meals is going to have a lower count compared to someone that takes small ones. Calorie estimations can also be made based on the count using a similar formula to those used in exercise equipment. When you use the tool to set bite reduction goals over a period of time it could be beneficial at helping with weight loss without focusing on calories counting.
 
This quick video demonstrates how to use the Bite Counter to measure how much is eaten at a meal.


The Bottom Line
There are varieties of tools that can help in the battle with weight management. The Bite Counter is something new that some people might find useful. Here are some of the pros and cons.

Pros
  • A small device with the look and feel of a trendy wristwatch.
  • Can be used anywhere and works to count food as well as beverages.
  • There is no specific plan to follow and the counter can supplement and support any eating plan, nutritional counseling, or other tracking plans.
  • Can either be used on the right or left arm, whichever is dominant.
  • An audible alarm can be pre-set for a designated meal bite count. 
 
Cons
  • Only counts activity of one arm that may necessitate need to change typical eating patterns or may miss some counts of bites taken.
  • Other hand gestures conducted during the meal may also be counted as a bite even if food or drink is not consumed.
  • Currently only a professional version of the device is available for marketing to scientists and weight loss experts at a costly retail price of $799. A consumer version is under development that is expected to be more affordable.
  • There is no detection of the nutrient content or actual food eaten and the device does not measure actual nutritional information.
  • Assumes people eat the same foods week to week so decreasing bites will decrease caloric intake whether selecting vegetables or fast foods.
 
This interesting tool may allow some professionals to help clients in specific weight management circumstances. However, until a cost effective consumer version is made available, it is doubtful this tools will be the latest weight loss trend.
 
What do you think about the concept of counting bites? Based on your current eating habits, would reducing the number of bites in your meal help you reach your weight goals?

(Photo Credit: Clemson University)



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Comments

  • 59
    This sounds like a device that will be incredibly easy to manipulate and trick.
    A friend of mine used to carry a little clicker counter device - and clicked every bit she put in her mouth! That was probably more effective, and cost $2! - 2/26/2012   9:03:24 AM
  • 58
    I AGREE WITH MELISSAJANEY THE ABSOLUTE DUMBEST INVENTION. IF THERE WAS A PRIZE FOR THE DUMBEST THAT ONE WOULD WIN. - 9/26/2011   2:55:22 PM
  • 57
    I thought of all the flaws that everyone else mentioned - size of bite, nutrition levels for each type of food in the bite (and if I have a plate with some chicken, a salad, and a pile of rice, I might switch around - 2 bites salad, 1 bite rice, another bite of salad, bite of chicken, bite of rice, and how can you account for all that in sequence. I suppose if researchers could measure the inside volume of your mouth, and have you eat only one food at a time - measure weight of food on plate before you started eating, count each bite, measure the weight of food remaining on plate after you were done, input the type of food it was, then you might have a pretty good idea.

    As it is, it's a $799 dollar joke - better laugh it off, as laughter is the best medicine! (but out of my taxpayer dollars?? ouch! no joke!!)
    - 9/8/2011   11:36:40 AM
  • 56
    If I had a son or daughter at Clemson I'd be asking for the part of my tuition back that funded that silly thing. - 9/7/2011   3:08:01 PM
  • 55
    This does sound like a weird joke. At best, a silly diet gimmick. Whether I eat 40 small bites of lettuce, or 5 big bites of cheeseburger, whatever information this gadget can give me will be no substitute for common sense. - 9/7/2011   9:46:39 AM
  • 54
    Technology is not substitute for common sense and accountability - 9/7/2011   9:21:16 AM
  • 53
    As a tool for researchers, it might have validity (researchers get grants for the strangest projects), but for people trying to lose weight, it's not worth it. There are many--better, more accurate--ways to determine how much food goes in.

    A pedometer can measure exercises that would hard to measure in any other practical way, not so this this item. - 9/7/2011   9:03:03 AM
  • JAGUARJJM
    52
    Digital wristwatches from 1973 are trendy? - 9/7/2011   8:34:52 AM
  • 51
    i GUESS it's okay but me personally, i'm about gadgeted out... - 9/6/2011   11:43:45 PM
  • BHENSON123
    50
    MUST be a joke! - 9/6/2011   9:48:17 PM
  • 49
    I suspect it's more cost-effective to invest in a decent digital food scale and weigh everything and log it before you eat it. - 9/6/2011   5:06:06 PM
  • RUNESHADOW
    48
    This is a joke, right? A parody of diet aids? - 9/6/2011   2:19:10 PM
  • 47
    I hope these guys haven't sunk their life savings into this nutty idea! - 9/6/2011   2:05:13 PM
  • 46
    I hope studies of this weren't put on the taxpayers tab.

    Estupido, muy estupido! - 9/6/2011   12:50:06 PM
  • SHANDIEGO
    45
    sounds pretty ridiculous. what a waste. - 9/6/2011   12:40:13 PM
  • 44
    Unfortunately, it doesn't account for size of bite or what you're eating! Although I suppose if you generally eat the same things and didn't change those habits but simply reduced the the number of bites it MIGHT work...not $799 worth though! - 9/6/2011   10:46:01 AM
  • 43
    There is a huge, huge flaw in this product. The video claims that the bite counter can calculate your calories but it does not give anyway for you to input what food you're eating. Thirty-six bites of salad isn't the same number of calories as thirty-six bites of fudge.

    I don't see a way to measure the size of your bite. Some people take much larger bites than others. I have teaspoons in my house that are very small. My soup spoons probably hold 4 times as much soup as those teaspoons. Yet, either way the bite counter only counts one bite.

    We all know that calorie counts can vary widely based on ingredients. Mashed potatoes made with real butter and whole milk are very different than mashed potatoes made with a bit of veggie broth. This "dumb" device not only doesn't care what you're eating or how it was prepared. - 9/6/2011   10:37:43 AM
  • 42
    R I D I C U L O U S! - 9/6/2011   9:46:12 AM
  • 41
    I don't think that this is a good idea. It seems obsessive compulsive. I think that meals should be enjoyable and counting bites seems the opposite. - 9/6/2011   9:16:16 AM
  • 40
    Wow, this is ridiculous. A bite tracker, really? What's next a chew counter and monitor? Talk about getting obsessive. Monitoring is one thing, this is ridiculous. - 9/6/2011   8:35:41 AM
  • 39
    What will they think of next ? Seriously, some people just have to invent something for the sake of inventing something... who would pay $ 800 for something that is so useless ? who eats the same thing every day ? - 9/6/2011   8:03:37 AM
  • 38
    Not for me. Mealtime should be relaxing, not worrying about moving your wrist around at a mealtime. To me this is a waste of money. - 9/6/2011   7:59:59 AM
  • 37
    Useless. - 9/6/2011   7:57:25 AM
  • CIRANDELLA
    36
    With the global economy falling apart at the seams, isn't this just what we need? - 9/6/2011   7:12:29 AM
  • 35
    taking things a TAD bit TOO FAR if you want my opinion....geez! - 9/6/2011   6:48:33 AM
  • 34
    Sounds like just another gimmick to separate desparate people from their money. What does it matter how many bites you take, when what really counts is WHAT and HOW MUCH is on your fork? In fact, taking smaller bites - meaning a much higher count - is a proven way to slow down and reduce your intake.

    Am I interested? NOOOOOooooooo!!! : ) - 9/6/2011   6:44:05 AM
  • BCUZOFME
    33
    This could only work for ppl eating the same meals day after day. I'll pass. I need variety. - 9/6/2011   5:49:21 AM
  • 32
    I'm reading Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" which has helped me understand that eating sugars/starches and spiking my INSULIN is the issue I have to deal with so this "gadget" wouldn't be something I'd waste money on buying. - 9/6/2011   1:54:52 AM
  • 7WORSHIPS
    31
    Seriously, this "invention" is a joke, right? - 9/6/2011   1:35:53 AM
  • 30
    Hard to believe this "gadget" was devised by supposedly educated people. Sounds more like one of those weight loss scams that pop up on late night TV. How could anyone think this would be a credible tool? - 9/5/2011   10:11:54 PM
  • 29
    I had to recheck the date; thought maybe this was 4-1-11? Think I will stick with recording on line with Spark People! Great video. - 9/5/2011   8:55:14 PM
  • ROZEEROZ1
    28
    To me there are too many variables to this piece of equipment. I wouldn't waste my time nor my money on this thing. So thumbs down on it for me. - 9/5/2011   7:45:03 PM
  • 27
    I may check it out when it makes its way to the Dollar Store. - 9/5/2011   6:40:14 PM
  • 26
    For real? I don't think so. Just because you took 20 bites last night and 18 bites tonight doesn't mean you ate less, what if you took bigger bites. The only thing I see this might be good for is for females to challenge the males, before they start eating, to go for a high number of bites. I know far too many men that seem to think it isn't "manly" to take small bites so they take these huge, stuff your mouth with at least half the hamburger bites.

    Also, the guy with the smaller number of bites in the film had 900 calories (est) and the guy with the higher number of bites had 1080 calories (est). The guy with more bites and the higher calorie count ate a salad while the guy with the smaller calorie count had a hamburger and fries. Somehow - I don't think that's right! I see far too many problems with it and I think it is a good joke, far too expensive, but hey, might as well get it from the scientists that will get grands to test it. A real person, educated like SparkPeople are, is not going to fall for a gimic like this. Why don't they offer it to SP for testing? Cause they probably know from the get go that it isn't for real.

    We all need to make money doing something. Good luck on this guys! - 9/5/2011   6:23:02 PM
  • 25
    I can't see how this would help and maybe it isn't a real product, I hope not. Wow, that's a lot of money for something that can't be accurate for calories eaten. If you chew until your food is mush before swallowing would be a better way to slow down and eat less. Plus the enjoyment you'd get out of savoring every bite. - 9/5/2011   4:17:18 PM
  • KLEDING
    24
    Can't believe this is truly effective--there are far too many variables.
    - 9/5/2011   4:10:20 PM
  • 23
    If the idea is to slow down, there's a (free) app for that. Can't remember what it's called but I came across it while browsing apps. - 9/5/2011   3:29:33 PM
  • 22
    "would reducing the number of bites in your meal help you reach your weight goals?"

    Last night I had 20 bites of green beans.
    Tonight I had 18 bites of Starbuck's Java Chip Frappuccino Ice Cream.
    YeeHaw! My diet's working !


    - 9/5/2011   2:54:10 PM
  • 21
    Huh?? $800 for what? This looks like a lot of money for a very dumb devise. I think it is what is on the plate and put in the mouth that counts not the number of times I lift my fork!! Might make it on funniest home videos though!!! - 9/5/2011   2:25:57 PM
  • 20
    Wow...seriously? What a rip off.
    - 9/5/2011   2:25:33 PM
  • LOLITA442
    19
    Not worth it! There are many other ways to loose weight than this gadget that are more effective and even free! - 9/5/2011   1:50:59 PM
  • 18
    What a waste. - 9/5/2011   1:48:47 PM
  • GAARAMA
    17
    Thank you for the good laugh,I hope no one is taking this seriously add this gadget to the bad idea pile. - 9/5/2011   1:41:14 PM
  • 16
    I have never heard of anything so stupid. I could be taking 31 bites of salad, or 31 bites of french fries, the device doesn't know the difference. Plus, if I take smaller bites, (which is a better way to eat), I would rack up more bites than if I shoveled food in my face. What a useless piece of trash! - 9/5/2011   1:25:52 PM
  • 15
    This item can join many other recent gimmicks advertised to help in weight loss. I believe I lost more calories with the laughs I had watching the video! Considering the total calories of 900 or 1000 for just this one meal, it would surprise me that the data obtained is of any significant value. How does the counter even know what food is being consumed with each bite? A bite of triple chocolate fudge as opposed to a bite of cottage cheese? The researchers veered in the wrong direction this time --- - 9/5/2011   1:15:57 PM
  • 14
    I think it is ridiculous! - 9/5/2011   12:48:23 PM
  • 13
    It could help some people~ - 9/5/2011   12:08:35 PM
  • 12
    I agree with TESS O LANDS.....the time spent on the research could have gone towards world hunger....or something more useful!
    Big fat hairy waste of time and money on this thing! - 9/5/2011   11:58:34 AM
  • 11
    Another gimmick. I wouldn't buy it for $20 let alone $799. - 9/5/2011   11:54:32 AM
  • 10
    It has been shown to be healthier when people take smaller bites and chew them well. Smaller bites means more bites to eat the same amount of food. Thus, eating less bites means larger amounts of food that fill you up before your body knows you're full. So wouldn't higher counts over longer periods of time be better?

    Also, this is definitely not a new product. Not even close. This has been around for years for sleep study participants to measure their amount of activity during the day (if you don't move enough you won't sleep well enough according to sleep professionals). I used one of these a year ago for several days. Honestly, unless you're taking it on and off with each meal then it will count a heck of a lot more than just bites - that's the point of what they're actually for! This is just a way to attempt to sell them at a huge cost to the general public and rip them off. - 9/5/2011   11:49:04 AM

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