Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Kathleen Melanson


Background: Self-monitoring dietary intake is a valuable behavior for those wishing to lose weight. Unfortunately, keeping food logs to determine kilocalorie (kcal) intake becomes very cumbersome and, this behavior change is rarely maintained. Although advances in technology have eased the burden of monitoring kcal intake, attrition remains a problem. The Bite Counter is a device worn on the wrist that uses bite count as a proxy for kcal intake, without the need for laborious food intake record keeping. The Bite Counter's efficacy in helping individuals decrease kcal intake by decreasing bite counts in free-living environments has not been tested.

Objective: The objective of this pilot study was to determine if overweight and obese adults could decrease their kcal intake by adhering to a daily bite count goal over one week. Appetite, satiety, and thirst were also evaluated to determine if decreasing bite count would alter these factors.

Methods: This study used a within-subject, pre-post design. The study included adults age 18-48 years old with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 39 kg/m2. Subjects (n = 19) participated in a two week intervention. During week 1, demographic and anthropometric data were collected, along with baseline kcal intake using 24-hour recalls and appetite profiles using visual analogue scales (VAS). Subjects wore the Bite Counter during the second week, while data collection from week 1 was repeated. A 10-12% bite count reduction goal was established after wearing it for one full day. Kcal intake and appetite profile data were assessed using paired t tests and repeated measures ANOVA. Independent t tests were used to assess between group differences according to bite count goal achievement.

Results: No significant differences were observed in kcal intake between the two weeks. When grouped according to bite count goal achievement, those reaching their goal on average decreased their kcal intake more than those who did not, though this decrease was not significant (p = 0.064).

Conclusion: This pilot study underscored the importance of bite goal achievement in reducing kcal intake. Future work should include larger groups, and longer interventions.



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