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Count Bites, Cut Pounds

recent BYU study shows that people who reduced their bites by 20 to 30 percent over a month’s time lost roughly four pounds, about what the Centers for Disease Control recommends for healthy weight loss. The bite-counters changed nothing else about their usual eating and exercise habits.

“We’re not advocating that people starve themselves,” says health science professor and lead author Joshua H. West. “What we’re talking about is people eating less than they’re currently eating.”

What you eat matters, he says, but as a matter of priority, people who are overweight should focus more on simply eating less.

“We’re consuming considerably more calories than we did a generation ago or two generations ago; at the same time we’re much less active,” says health science professor and coauthor Benjamin T. Crookston (BS ’03, MS ’06). “The good news is that you don’t have to be extreme calorie cutting. Even a 20 percent reduction in bites makes a

The study is published in Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control.

BYU computer scientists, including professor Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier (BS ’91, MS ’93, PhD ’94), developed an algorithm to make counting bites easier. SmartBites, a local startup, has licensed the technology and is refining an app for wearable smart devices.

food on forks
Photo by Mark A. Philbrick