• Wed, Aug 3 2011

New ‘Bite Counter’ Puts Your Eating On House Arrest

If you tend to scarf down lunch while you’re tackling emails, listening to music and talking to coworkers, you might be into the idea of this new Bite Counter wristwatch that tracks the motion of your wrist to monitor how much you’ve eaten. Then again, something about a diet monitor strapped to our body reminds us of being under house arrest. So we’re weighing the pros and cons of this new diet-aiding technology:

PROS:

  • It’s important to keep track of what you eat—and accurately. Food diaries are a great way to go, but the Bite Counter could help you get more accurate, which is especially useful if you’re trying to manage calorie intake for weight loss.
  • It could boost your self-control. You can set the watch to sound an alarm when you’ve gone over your allotted intake for certain times of day. Want to curb your ice cream consumption? Tell the watch to stop you at ten bites. No more digging to the bottom of the carton while you’re watching Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Your hips don’t lie, and neither does the monitor. “Studies have shown that people tend to underestimate what they eat by large margins, mostly because traditional methods rely upon self-observation and reporting,” says co-creator Eric Muth. Not to beat a dead horse, but again: If you’re baffled by why you can’t seem to lose weight despite trying to eat the right things, this watch might help you figure out whether your portion control is to blame.

CONS:

  • The device doesn’t consider which foods you’re eating. Fifty bites of salad vs. 50 bites of chips and guac have vastly different nutrition and calorie counts, and Bite Counter doesn’t take that into account. Their website says “the caloric content of a bite averages out over the long term,” and adds that we “tend to eat the same foods week to week, further stabilizing the calorie/bite relationship.” And you can customize the calorie/bite relationship according to your diet. But this is hardly a foolproof way to calorie count.
  • Neurosis trigger, much? We’re all for keeping track of your diet and exercise, whether or not you’re trying to lose weight. But the point should really be about making better food choices, not just setting an alarm to stop yourself at a certain number of calories. The Bite Counter won’t give you five for eating kale and carrots, but it will make you feel guilty by sounding off an alarm when you’ve eaten too many bites, and to us, that seems like a recipe for eating neuroses.
  • The $799 price tag. Yep. This “pedometer for your mouth” costs a pretty penny. For this price, you could get a real pedometer (because physical activity is just as important to track), and get at least a couple of high-quality nutritionist consultations.

We haven’t tried the Bite Counter, but in all, we’ll be taking our $800 and putting it towards other ways of getting our diet on track. Being clear about how much you’re eating is important, but so is educating yourself about making the right food decisions and making better choices about what you consume. Simply setting off an alarm bell to keep yourself from eating too much of a bad thing isn’t necessarily that good of a thing.

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  • deadharbor

    That’s really stupid. As if an alarm could stop someone if they really wanted to eat more. 50 bucks would be more reasonable as a fun gadget.