One of the diet-related tools that I tested in January was 80 Bites app. Dubbed as a “pedometer for your mouth”, this simple app let’s you track how many “mouthfuls” (“bites”) of food you take during the day, and how much time, on average, you spend chewing the food between the bites. The premise behind the app is that eighty “bites” a day is usually enough to feel full and satisfied, and limiting your food intake on the long run can help you to shrink your stomach and eat less. I am not sure about the latter, but using this app for several weeks definitely helped me learn to eat my meals more mindfully. I also discovered something new and interesting about my eating habits from the data that I collected.
The app is very simple to use: you just tap the screen every time you take a bite or mouthful of food. The sleek graphing tool lets you track your stats for each meal, as well as daily:
Unfortunately, you cannot export data, so after each meal, I had to get the stats from the graph and enter them manually into my rTracker log. At the end of the month, I compared average number of bites and “chewing” time across different types of meal. As you can see, I tend to eat my breakfast too fast:
Just for fun, I also looked at how the number of bites and average chewing time are correlated with weight of the meal, satiety, and gratification (all correlations reported below are statistically significant):
As expected, there was a strong positive correlation between the weight of the meal, and a number of bites: the heavier was the meal, the more bites I had to take to complete it. The positive correlations between the number of bites and satiety is also not surprising: the more bites I took, the more “full” I felt after the meal. Interestingly, weight was also negatively correlated with chewing time: it seems that I tend to rush when eating heavier meals. The chewing time was also positively correlated with meal’s “gratification”: it looks like the more delicious was the meal, the more time I was spending chewing it.
In summary, I really like this app, and will continue using it. I hope developers will enable the data exporting feature soon. In the meantime, I will continue logging the number of bites and time in my rTracker log. In March, I will also start tracking my “concentration’: how focused I was on the meal, and whether I was using computer or watching TV while consuming it. The hypothesis I will be testing is that divided attention leads to less mindful eating.