Counting Bites: An Effective Way to Lose Weight

January 23, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. calorie / ˈkæl ə ri / (n.) – the amount of energy a body can get from food or drinks
Example: This biscuit contains less calories than the chocolate bar.

2. complexity / kəmˈplɛk sɪ ti / (n.) – the difficulty of something
Example: Many students were confused by the equation’s complexity.

3. seemingly / ˈsi mɪŋli / (adv.) – showing a certain quality or characteristic
Example: The team was able to accomplish a seemingly difficult task.

4. cut down / kʌt daʊn / (phrasal v.) – to decrease the use of something
Example: He cut down on smoking after he got sick.

5. demanding / dɪˈmæn dɪŋ / (adj.) – describing something that requires a lot of effort
Example: Working out can be physically demanding.


Read the text below.
A study suggests that counting bites might be more effective than counting calories in losing weight.

Brigham Young University associate professor Josh West and his colleagues recently conducted a study on a simple way to lose weight—bite counting. The study was published in the open-access journal Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control.

According to West, most people do not know calorie counting or are discouraged to try it because of its complexity. This led his team to focus on bite counting, which he believed can make reducing calorie intake a seemingly easy process.

The team was able to recruit a total of 100 eligible participants aged 18 to 65 with a body mass index (BMI) over 25. The total number of participants later decreased to 41 after some backed out before and during the study, while some were removed from the study after not having submitted the required weigh-in or bite-count data.

Participants were instructed to track their bite counts whenever they ate and send the total number of bites to the researchers at the end of each day. The participants were also instructed to maintain their usual diet. After the first week, West and his team calculated the average daily bite counts for each participant. They then asked half of the subjects to cut down their daily bite counts by 20% while the other half reduced it by 30%.

Results showed that in one month, all participants lost an average of around 3.5 pounds regardless of the percentage of daily bite counts they cut down on. This could possibly be because people become more mindful of the amount of food they eat when they count bites.

According to the participants, bite counting is not difficult to do. West said that this method is best for people who find calorie counting a demanding activity.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you like to try bite counting? Why or why not?
·         What could be the possible downsides of this method?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think many people cannot maintain a healthy diet?
·         What are some steps that people can take to be able to stick to a healthy diet?

January 23, 2016