Think weight loss is a matter of how much you eat and what kinds of foods make up your diet? Think again. New nutritional research suggests the number of bites you take when you eat may be a critical factor in weight loss — the more bites, the better.
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There’s even a new device — called the Bite Monitor — that counts how much and how fast you chew your food, as a way to help shed pounds, the Wall Street Journal
The monitor is worn on the wrist like a watch, and tallies the number of bites you take during a day. About 100 bites a day is ideal for men and women to lose weight, according to researchers at South Carolina’s Clemson University who developed the device. The Bite Monitor’s designers say 100 bites a day adds up to 1,700 calories for men and 1,100 calories for women.
The concept will soon be tested in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. A commercial product could be ready in about a year and is expected to cost about $195.
"If you're eating too fast, you're probably not chewing and enjoying your food very well and you're probably going to be more likely" to eat too much, explained Michael Jensen, an endocrinologist and obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Encouraging people to eat more slowly, take smaller bites, and chew each bite more is an important component of weight control and management, experts say. They also believe slowing down while eating benefits digestion, lessens problems like acid reflux, and allows for more nutrient absorption.
"There's very strong evidence pointing to the importance of chewing," said Kathleen Melanson, director of the University of Rhode Island's Energy Balance Lab, which researches satiety and other eating issues. "The nerves that feed into the muscles in the jaw connect to satiety areas in the brain."
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