Bite me!

Posted: August 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

I enjoy reading different fitness magazines while working out on cardio equipment. During my recent 50 minute elliptical interval workout, I happily trod along reading about other women’s success stories or a cool new website for finding workout tunes. Suddenly, that all changed. Suddenly, I wanted to have a little Tazmanian Devil moment with the magazine, ripping the page to shreds in a whirlwind of annoyance.

Have you heard of the 80 Bites app?

80 bites  [source]

The mastermind behind this claims that it’s difficult to keep portion sizes in check, but counting bites makes it more feasible. The app has you tap your screen with each bite to count up the number of bites you take each meal. It will also make some sort of sound reminding you to tap the screen, and then gives a different sound after you reach your bite limit for the meal. That makes me picture the phone flashing red lights and shouting warning! warning! warning! at me. And is it just me or does it creep you the heck out that your phone would know how much you’re eating?!?! But that’s besides the point.

Well, I didn’t think I could fairly judge this app because I have no clue how many bites I eat per meal or per day. A couple weeks ago, in my What 2147 Calories Looks Like post, I took to measuring all my food for a day in order to accurately share the possibility of eating a higher calorie diet than generally recommended for women. If I could do that, then I could count my bites for a few meals.

I forgot during breakfast, so when lunch time rolled around I made a standard lunch plate and sat down to see how I compared to the 25-30 bite per meal recommendation.

Um, I eat baby carrots in two bites apiece because I like to take time with my food as much as possible. So, with this little app, I would end up with a lunch consisting of a handful of baby carrots. That sounds healthy, huh? Or I would have to learn how to open my mouth like Steven Tyler so I could make the most of my bites and actually eat a meal.

steventyler [source]

It seems an easy way to maneuver around that whole 80 bites concept. Just eat bigger! But then, I wouldn’t really get to chew and savor my food. Hmmm. That doesn’t sound too healthy either.

I understand the points of it slowing down eating to make the user more aware of hunger and fullness cues. I understand that counting bites could make it easier than counting calories. I understand that the standard American diet doesn’t have a plate full of fruit or veggies to chomp through for meals. The whole 80 bites thing could be an easy way to help limit the consumption of Big Macs. Although, 80 bites of Big Mac certainly won’t give you the same benefits as 80 bites of salad. And preferably this warm goat cheese and cherry salad from Kristin. mmmmm…oh wait…sorry for the distraction, folks. Goat cheese gets me all warm inside.

Oh, and then the site talks about how it calms and relaxes you while you eat? Where do they get this stuff?! I would end up throwing my phone across the room and cowering in a corner with my breakfast for fear of being bleepity beeped at (warning! warning! warning!)  for eating another small bite of oatmeal. And don’t even get me started on the screen looking like a scale and saying things like “your stomach is stretching”. Sorry for the tangent, but I just had to say…bite me, 80 Bites!

  • Thoughts on the 80 bites app?
  • Is there anything technology can do these days that creeps you out?

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75 Comments to “Bite me!”
  1. I must say that I am not a fan of this app!

  2. I can’t imagine tapping that thing every time I take a bite, geesh!

  3. goat cheese is the best! That app creeps me out too, as does Steven Tyler’s mouth hahaha

  4. I’ve never heard of that App but from your description I definitely do not like that concept whatsoever…it always seems some kind of company is trying to make money off of the next fad diet or gimmick…ugh not a fan!

  5. MAJOR DISLIKE on this App! Eating a giant salad filled with veggies and some grilled chicken is going to add up quite differently than eating pizza and french fries. Sigh. Let’s focus on eating healthy foods (well…most of the time;-)) and listening to our bodies to tell us when we are hungry and full.

  6. That app is insane. But that picture of Steven Tyler…that was the best. Seriously, I can’t stop giggling now because I’m thinking “How many M&Ms could Steven Tyler fit into just one bite?”

  7. haha and here I thought I was the only one who thought his mouth was THAT big! :P

  8. Coco says:

    I’m speechless. Let me munch on some celery and I’ll get back to you.

  9. I am with you, Tina. I don’t really see this app as being practical or helpful.

  10. I had not heard of this. How interesting. Maybe it would keep me from finishing an entire bag of chips, but I agree that not only would counting bites take the pleasure out of a meal, it would also steer you to unhealthy choices for the sake of getting more out of a bite.

  11. I feel like I would be more focused on the application that my actual meal. Hmmm…not a fan!

  12. if you love goat cheese (and I LOVE this one) you will want to try and find this US artisinal one. It isnt the cheapest but it is TOTALLY worth it.

    As for the bites… I believe in chewing your food. That helps more than reducing your bites as far as I am concerned. That and getting quality foods in the right proportion (particularly good fats and protein with complex whole sourced carbs- might not always get there myself but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true :) )

  13. Ummm how about I tell you which cheese :)
    Vermont Creamery Cremont:
    http://www.vermontcreamery.com/cremont/

  14. Jessica says:

    Hi Tina (and readers),
    Jessica from 80 Bites here! Thank you for checking out the app. I just wanted to clear up some misconceptions about how 80 Bites actually works.

    First – we’re not a diet! 80 Bites’ primary goal is to act as a benchmark to show people how much they are consuming. The second goal is to get them to slow down and eat more consciously.

    The app is not meant to be a tool you use for life. Just the opposite! If you give it a try for a few days, you’ll find that you’ll naturally slow down and really listen to your body’s cues. No need for the app after that.

    40 years ago there was no obesity epidemic. And 40 years ago, America’s diet consisted largely of red meat and crisco. Why are we fatter now, in spite of the health food craze? Simple: larger portions.

    Tina, it sounds like you’re already a conscious eater. Believe it or not, most bites are created equal (even if you’re Steven Tyler). You could easily spend your 25 bites eating carrots or grapes. Or, you could maybe add in some healthy fats as well – helping you stay fuller, longer.

    @ Amanda Perry: you’re right that there is caloric difference between pizza & fries and a huge salad. But we’re not talking calories. A huge salad may be low-cal, but you’re still eating a large amount of food, therefore stretching your stomach. The more you stretch, the hungrier you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re stretching it with veggies or pizza – you’re still going to require more feedings, more often.

    Again, 80 Bites is not a diet or a lifetime commitment. It’s just a tool to help americans get a bit more conscious about how much they eat. We believe that even if you start out eating nothing but pizza, once you become a conscious eater it can lead to overall healthy changes. 80 Bites is just the first step.

    Any more questions, please feel free to reach out to me!

    Jessica

    • Tina says:

      I appreciate your response Jessica. Like I mentioned in my post, I understand the concept behind the app and that it can help with portion control…but I still disagree on the overall use of limiting oneself to 80 bites and an issue of stretching the stomach with foods such as salads, fruits, and veggies. That is my personal opinion and I stand by it. However, I still respect an effort to get others more aware and conscious of their eating habits.

      Sincerely,

      Tina

  15. Jessica says:

    Tina,
    80 Bites isn’t based on our opinion – it’s based on research from the American Dietetic Association that proves that more food (even healthy fruits and veggies) = stretched stomach = more hunger. It’s that simple.

    And believe it or not, 80 is the number of bites these scientists determined is enough per day to satisfy most human stomachs. For most of history (before the obesity epidemic), this is how much people ate, naturally.

    Of course salads are better than pizza! But for folks who aren’t ready to make that leap just yet, 80 Bites provides a benchmark to give them a sense of what it feels like to be “comfortably full” – eating whatever they choose to eat. After using the app for some time and learning to eat more consciously, healthier food choices will follow.

    We invite you to actually the give the app a try before writing it off. I promise you’ll be surprised to discover that 80 bites is much more than you think!

    Jessica

  16. One of my coworkers actually chews each bit for THAT long! It’s insane. He is like the SLOWEST eater in the world, but he still manages to each TONS. Although he works out a poop load and looks great. So maybe it works??? I tried a few years back but can’t seem to do it!

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