Count bites not calories
Tackling obesity may come down to counting bites and not calories.
Researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina have examined how providing dieters with a bite count after each meal influenced how much they ate. They found that people who were made aware of the number of bites made during each meal ate less and reduced their overall intake.
Phillip Jasper, a PhD student at the institution, said that it was interesting that the presence of feedback led to a reduction in consumption.
"This finding is consistent with current literature that shows feedback on consumption leads people to consume less," he explained.
In the trial, investigators recruited young adults to consume a meal in the laboratory. In the first round, some subjects were outfitted with bite count feedback devices and given either a small or large plate. The group that received bite count feedback significantly reduced their intake regardless of plate size, although, those given larger plates still consumed more than those who had smaller plates. Larger plate sizes have been positively linked to overconsumption, researchers said. While providing bite count feedback helped mitigate the known influence of plate size, it was not enough to overcome it completely.
"Individuals may eat less when they receive bite count feedback, but feedback alone may not be sufficient in terms of helping them to take an 'appropriate' or 'normal' number of bites, particularly in the presence of large plates," said Jasper.
The researchers added that they believe counting bites is an excellent method for people who consider themselves as mindless eaters, as by providing live insight into the number of bites, people will be more likely to stop eating when appropriately full.
"We want people to be mindful of what they're doing. That's what's really important," the report said.
The results were first published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.