Counting Your Bites Leads to 4 Pounds per Month Weight Loss
Would you be willing to try to lose 4 pounds per month with a diet trick that does not require starving yourself? A new pilot study found that it’s actually the number of bites that counts for weight loss success.
According to a news release from Brigham Young University, counting the number of bites you take may be a more effective way to lose weight than counting calories.
BYU health researchers have published in a recent issue of Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control the results of a pilot study that investigated whether weight could be lost with the mindful-eating practice of counting the number of bites you normally take and then reducing that number by 20 to 30 percent.
According to the news release the pilot experiment involved requesting 61 participants to count the number of times they lifted food to their mouth and the number of gulps of liquids―other than water―each day. The participants would then text or email their bite count totals to researchers at the end of each day. Then, the study participants committed to taking 20 to 30 percent fewer bites over the next four weeks without changing what they normally ate or how much exercise they normally did daily.
By the end of the month-long test period, the remaining 41 participants who stuck with the bite count recording and reporting lost an average of 4 pounds each.
"This study confirms what we already knew: consuming less food makes a difference," said lead study author Josh West. "We're not advocating people starve themselves, what we're talking about is people eating less than they're currently eating."
"We felt pretty good about how much weight they lost given the relatively short span of the study," stated BYU co-author Ben Crookston. "Now we need to follow up to see if they keep it off, or if they lose more weight."
One of the reasons why more participants did not complete the pilot study was because they found counting each bite too taxing. However, the researchers reported that one way of getting past this hurdle is to use an algorithm developed by BYU's Computer Science department that through a wearable tracking device could do the counting for the dieter.
The authors of the pilot study believe counting bites is a doable, cost-effective option for losing weight that tackles the principle causes of why so many Americans are overweight.
"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," Crookston said. "The good news is that you don't have to be extreme calorie cutting. Even a 20 percent reduction in bites makes a difference."
For more about how eating less can lead to weight loss, here is an informative article about the 5 Bite Diet Plan.
Brigham Young University news release: “Pilot Test of A Bites-Focused Weight Loss Intervention” Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control, October 2015; Ben Crookston and Cougar Hall et al.