Photographed by Guang Xu.
There's now a Fitbit for your food, and it's called Bite Monitor. Inspired by the well-known fact that we should eat slowly — heard from mothers, doctors, and Ayurveda teachers alike — researchers at Clemson University developed the device to count how many bites we take per day. How, you ask? By measuring wrist motion. In case you needed something else to fret over (what do you mean you only took 2,785 steps today?), the Bite Monitor is set to go on sale in about a year, for about $195.
The designers' research showed that 100 bites roughly adds up to 1,700 calories for men and 1,100 for women, figures that they use to explain their invention's 100-bite goal. In a pilot study, people who counted their bites lost slightly more weight than those who did not, though the conclusion was that further research was warranted. But, if you're the type of person who can justify spending almost $200 on a bracelet that tracks every time you raise your fork, should you really be counting every single bite you take in a day?
This all seems a little old school to us. Sure, everyone knows it's probably better to set the table and have a leisurely, sit-down dinner than to cannonball a bowl of ramen over the sink before heading out the door. But, do we need to police our eating habits to this extent? The Fitbit exists to track our steps, but it strikes us more as an opportunity to learn about our health habits — rather than micromanage them, like the Bite Monitor seems to want us to do.
Clemson's research led to a very specifically designed device, but also to some more universal wisdom: Whether or not you end up adding the Bite Monitor to your arm party, you can take a toned-down approach to the 100-bite challenge by taking your time, chewing thoroughly (for your safety, if not for your health), and, obviously, enjoying your food. After all, you didn't Instagram that brunch for nothing.