Research: Mobile bite counters can promote weight loss

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Mobile Bite Counters may assist with weight loss.

Woman Chewing Chocolate

Woman Chewing Chocolate

Chewing is the mechanism by which we mechanically crush and cut food.  The act of chewing stimulates multiple physiologic responses to include increased release of digestive enzymes and a feeling of satiety.  Prior research has shown that chewing slower and more increases satiety.  It would make sense that using a bite counter might increase satiety if it encourages you to chew more and eat slower.  The problem is there is limited research to back up this hypothesis.  

A new study from 2017 looked at the use of bite counters in a weight loss program[1].  The goal of the study was to examine the usability and feasibility of the mobile bite counter and the impact of weekly behavioral challenges on diet and physical activity outcomes. The device was a watch-like device that detects when a user consumes food or beverage.  The subjects were 12 overweight adults that were recruited to participate in a four-week study to test both the usability and feasibility of using the device as part of a behavioral weight loss intervention.  Participants were tested with and without the bite counter. The use of a bite counter was significantly correlated with weight loss. 

The bottom line:  Bite Counter use during a weight loss intervention is associated with increased weight loss.  Bite Counters were an easy-to-use and novel approach to weight loss.  I suspect this has something to do with eating slower, but regardless, using the Bite Counters was associated with lower energy and food intake.  Users see improvements in weight-related eating behaviors and self-efficacy.  Future studies should examine the use over a longer period in a controlled study.


G. M. Turner-McGrievy et al., “Byte by bite: Use of a mobile Bite Counter and weekly behavioral challenges to promote weight loss,” Smart Health, vol. 3–4, pp. 20–26, Sep. 2017 [Online]. Available: 10.1016/j.smhl.2017.03.004″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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