A Healthy Diet Starts with Slower Chewing: Do You Need a Smart Fork?

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Slow down. Savor every bite of your food. Eat consciously. Be mindful, and pay attention to the distinct flavors, textures, and nuances of your meal. These are all important steps in achieving a healthy diet.

Eating slowly not only has benefits for your mind and spirit – it can also shrink your waistline. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your belly is full. If you are gobbling down your Gorgonzola, you’ll eat more than you need before you realize you don’t want any more. Research has shown that slower eaters tend to have lower body mass indexes than speed eaters – and it’s a good guess that they are enjoying their meals more. Poorly chewed food can also cause digestive problems, and fast eating can lead to gastric reflux.

Food is one of the great pleasures of life. Why not slow down and enjoy it as much as you can? We all know that we should eat slowly and mindfully, but sometimes it is hard – especially when we’re really hungry or stressed, or when the food is oh-so-delicious. But these are the moments that we need to slow down the most. The smart fork is here to help.

A smart fork may help with your healthy diet goals. Otherwise known as a HAPIfork, this eating utensil has an electronic sensor built in, which measures your hand-to-mouth movements AKA “fork servings.” When you start shoveling your food in too quickly, it lights up and vibrates to let you know that you need to slow down. It was originally developed for clinical and medical uses, but today is available for anyone who needs a little help savoring the moment. The HAPIfork is also Bluetooth-enabled, so that it connects with your computer and/or smart phone and relays your stats in real time.

What does the smart fork measure? The HAPIfork measures three things:

  • How long it took you to eat your meal
  • The number of fork servings per minute
  • Time intervals between fork servings

How fast is too fast? According to the HAPIfork, a healthy eating pace is about three fork servings per minute – or about 60 fork servings during a 20-minute meal.

The HAPIfork comes in five different colors (white, black, pink, green and blue) and costs between $91 to $99 right now on Amazon, depending on the hue. Technology-induced mindfulness doesn’t come cheaply. Is it worth it? If you’ve tried to slow down your eating again and again, but always find yourself finished with the meal in a matter of minutes, you might be able to benefit from the HAPIfork.

Looking for a budget option? You can also measure your eating habits at home, and try to change them on your own. How long does it take you to eat your meal? Count the number of “fork servings” you take. Do you put your utensil down between bites? Do you finish one bite completely before starting the next one?

Resolve to focus on your food, and every meal can be a meditation.

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Image: bibols19

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