By Doreen Dawang
Some people might be thinking twice about scarfing down their dinner tonight based on a new fork that detects how fast they’re eating.
A Florida-based company has created a device designed to tell you if you’re eating too fast. The utensil – called HAPIfork – gently vibrates with blinking LED lights to make people aware that they’re not eating at the pace that is ideal for their health.
The company, HAPIlabs, says the reasonable pace a person should be using a fork is 60 to 70 times during a 20 to 30 minute meal. Any faster, and they say that it can lead to weight gain and digestive problems.
Julie Bednarski, a registered dietitian from Toronto, agrees.
“It takes 20 minutes on average for your body to realize that the stomach is full,” Bednarski told Humber News. “So the faster that you consume food and you’re not aware of it, your brain is not going to get the message that you’re full.”
The fork was designed by French engineer Jacques Lepine to fix his own eating habits.
The device is measured by “fork servings” – the amount of times food is brought from the plate to the eater’s mouth. It also measures how long it takes to eat a meal, the amount of servings taken per minute and the intervals between each serving.
The HAPIfork can be connected via USB or Bluetooth connection to a mobile app to track an eater’s results.
The product is set to launch in the next couple of months with a retail value of US $99.
While the average person may not be able to purchase the smart utensil, in the meantime, Bednarski said there are ways for people to control their eating habits.
“Once people take a bite, I recommend that they put down their fork and actually chew their food,” she said. “They should be trying to chew their food at least 10 to 15 times.”
Bednarski said she knows people are busy and eating on the go, but stresses the importance of mealtime as an important aspect of our daily lives.
“Good nutrition is not just about consuming the right types of foods,” she said. “It’s also about sitting down, properly chewing your food, and having that pleasure of the whole mealtime process.”