Clemson bite counter with video 600x280

Forget counting steps. What if all you need to do to maintain a healthy weight was wear a wristband that counted how many bites you take in a day? While many people want to lose, maintain, or even gain weight, managing body weight is often an ongoing struggle. Exercise is important for strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular conditioning, but except in cases of extremely high or low levels, working out or any type of exercise has little to do with body weight. Most experts assert exercise accounts for no more than 10% of weight gain or loss. It’s all about intake.

There are loads of diets and nutritional plans. Government regulating groups change their recommendations every few years of what makes up a healthy diet. However, the bottom line, for most people, is all about caloric intake. The more calories you consume, the more weight you gain. So when you put the two together the answer seems simple – just figure out what your healthy weight should be, calculate the number of calories required to maintain that weight, and eat that much. Rather than focus on gaining or losing, focus on eating for the goal and you will eventually get there without a lot of drama. But there’s a big problem with that simple answer. Counting calories is bothersome, difficult, and time-consuming. You can carry around a guide or look up amounts online or hope that calories printed on restaurant menus are accurate, but it’s still a bother.

Researchers at Clemson University have been working for several years on the relationship between the number of bites you take and caloric intake. They designed and have run extensive studies with a bite-counting wristband that they now sell as a separate business. The Bite Counter is a watch that also counts bites based on pattern recognition of wrist movements. The Bite Counter comes with PC software for configuring the device and connects via a micro USB port, so it’s a little old school because there’s no smartphone app. Two buttons on the watch switch back and forth between telling the time, counting bites, and accessing estimated caloric intake. The calorie count is based on how you configure the device (there’s a manual that walks you through the steps) and how many bites you actually take.

According to the designers, it doesn’t matter whether you are picking up food, using a utensil, or taking a sip of a drink, the pattern recognition algorithm will count them each as a bite. So once users figure out how many bites will work to maintain a healthy weight for their height and gender, all they then have to do is wear the wristband and mind their bites.