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Fighting Obesity - Talking Dinner Plates Teach Healthier Eating Habits

posted 08:15 AM EST, Tue November 29, 2011
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To tackle obesity, the National Health Service in the UK is trying out dinner plates which measure your rate of consumption and deliver recorded messages when you start eating too quickly

If you’re like a lot of people, you eat too quickly and inadvertently eat more than your body needs – before your brain has a chance to register that you’ve long passed satiety.

If only we could receive gentle reminders as we eat whenever our consumption exceeds a recommended healthy rate…

Enter the talking plate behavior modification device - Developed by Swedish scientist Per Sodersen and called the Mandometer, this talking dinner plate helps people to learn to eat at a more moderate rate as a way to control unhealthy weight gain.

The device consists of a plate on a sensitive scale with a monitor on its side. The computer within gauges the rate at which the food leaves the plate and whenever your consumption exceeds a recommended speed, a recorded message urges you to slow down.

On the monitor alongside the plate, a line graph shows a recommended eating rate in blue, so that you can compare your eating rate, shown as a red line, to the optimal rate of consumption. The screen will also periodically flash messages, such as “Are you feeling full yet” as cautions against mindless eating.

An initial study demonstrated that obese children who used the plate ate 15% less, on average, after a year of behavioral training with the talking plate.

To test its mass-market usefulness, the UK National Health Service (NHS) in conjunction with Bristol University plans to hand out the plates (which sell for substantial 1500 pounds each) to 600 obesity suffering families.

Although this large study has yet to produce any results, lead researcher Julian Hamilton-Shield has high hopes for the device, predicting, “It will be a powerful tool to help families retrain their eating habits."

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Story Highlights
  • The Talking Plate: Urges you to slow down when it determines you're eating too fast
  • Behavioral Modification: The point of the plate is to teach people to eat slower and be more mindful of their fullness levels.
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