Researchers say counting your bites while eating can help in weight loss. When researchers from Clemson University created a device that provided bite count feedback, they found that those people that got feedback ate less and decreased their total intake during a meal.

Providing feedback will make people more mindful of what they are consuming and stop eating when they are full. Researchers believe this approach is more realistic than counting calories.

The study found in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that larger plate sizes leads to overeating. However, when the devices were given to participants, they ate less regardless of the plate size. Still, the team notes counting one’s bites during mealtime is not the be-all and end-all of weight loss.

weight loss

A woman with wearable bite count feedback device.Credit: Clemson University

“It was found that the presence of bite count feedback led to a reduction in overall consumption,” says Phillip Jasper, from Clemson University’s Department of Psychology. “This finding is consistent with current literature that shows feedback on consumption leads people to consume less.”

As seen in the second test, those participants that were asked to take fewer bites simply took larger bites than they normally would to compensate for this bite count. The researchers asked a group to take 12 bites and another 22 bites.

People found the low-bite goal to be simply restricting. These few larger bites satisfied the participants like taking more but normal-sized bites would.

Despite this, the research team asserts that there is still a way to reduce the bite count without taking larger bites. They say introducing a standard bite count in all meals, including snacks, before establishing a bite count goal.

This would make the restricted bite to be just below the person’s average bite count.  Consequently, this will help an individual take lesser bites without feeling the drastic decrease in bite count, reducing their calorie intake in the process.

“Self-monitoring is one of the cornerstones of successful weight loss,” concluded Mr. Jasper. “By giving people bite count feedback, which is a good indicator for energy intake, they know how much they’ve had to eat or drink, they know their intake so they can better adjust their energy expenditure behaviors.”