Provo, Utah -- (KUTV) BYU professors are testing what could become the latest diet trend. They found counting the number of bites you take each day can help you lose weight at a healthy, consistent pace.
For the month-long study, they asked 61 participants to count the number of times they lifted food to their mouth each day, then they asked them to take 20 to 30 percent fewer bites over the next four weeks.
The results were tracked by Joshua West, Associate Professor of Health Science.
"We need a solution that's sustainable and really simple and doesn't cost really any money," he says. "There's been a lot of talk over the years about what's called intuitive eating, 'my body will tell me when I've had enough food'. If I just listen to my body, it tells me a lot of things, like I shouldn't get up in the morning, I shouldn't go to work."
According to West, the concept works. Participants who completed the study averaged a loss of four pounds per month.
Natalie Tripp lost 4 1/2 pounds.
When she began, she was eating around 70 bites of food per day. By the end of the study, she was eating 55 bites per day and was more conscious of the types of food.
"I was thinking, 'I can eat junk food which might not fill me up in the limited bites that I have, or I can eat something that's a little bit more sustaining'," she says.
Researchers found those that didn't complete the program had the most trouble keeping track of the bites they were eating each day.
"I had to carry around this little card in my pocket and make tally marks for every bite that I took at every meal," says Natalie.
BYU's Computer Science team is working on a wrist device that will pair with a smartphone app to remotely monitor bites and will notify you when it's time to cut back.
"It would be nice to reference for people who might not be aware of how much they're eating to have that technology to rely on," says Natalie.