Counting bites while eating may help with weight loss
Those looking to try a simple, new way to shed pounds may want to start counting the number of bites they swallow instead of counting calories.
Researchers at Birmingham Young University found that an average person who counted bite intake for one month lost about 4 pounds, which is a healthy amount of weight to lose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the pilot test, 61 participants were committed to reducing the number of bites they took each day by 20 to 30 percent. At the end of the each day, participants reported how many bites of food they ate and gulps of drinks, other than water, that they consumed.
Out of the group, the 41 individuals who thoroughly completed the four-week experiment by reducing the number of food bites and gulps of drinks each day lost about an average of 1 pound per week.
Researchers said the study confirms that eating less helps people lose weight. They have yet to determine whether the new method will produce long-term weight loss results.
“One of, if not the most important component of weight loss, is that caloric intake has to decrease, and this study offers a simple system that may work well for some individuals,” says Dr. Ward McCracken, family medicine physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “The quality of food and regular exercise have very well established places in weight loss and numerous other health benefits that should not be neglected, but effective weight loss does rely heavily on total calorie control and is rarely successful without it.”
For study participants who didn’t reduce their bite count, a solution is in the works at BYU’s Computer Science Department where they are also designing an app compatible with wearable device to help count bites for people who want to try the new method. The device will track wrist motion while eating in a pattern that detects each time a bite of food has been taken. It could also warn the user to slow down or stop eating once a target intake has been reached.
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