Can a Plate Help You Lose Weight?

The Mandometer-a computerized dish-just may do the trick.
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Can a Plate Help You Lose Weight?

The Mandometer—a computerized dish—just may do the trick.

-Shana Aborn

The Mandometer

You’ve tried diets from South Beach and North Oshkosh, followed every doctor from Oz to Atkins to Seuss, cut out carbs, reached for stevia instead of sugar, and still the pounds won’t come off. Maybe it’s not what you’re putting in your mouth, but the way you eat it – and now there’s a computerized plate that could help.

Researchers Cecelia Bergh, Ph.D.,  and Per Södersten, Ph.D.,  of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm theorize that eating disorders – including the overeating that leads to obesity – are the result of abnormal eating rhythms. When you eat too quickly, your digestive system doesn’t have the chance to send the proper signals of satiety (fullness) to your brain. Over time you lose the ability to recognize hunger and fullness, need more food to feel satisfied, and next thing you know, you’re trading your size 8s for 18s. (On the other end of the spectrum are anorexics, who eat so slowly that their bodies are fooled into thinking they’re full after just a bite or two.)

Read 6 Ways to Change How You Eat—Forever

With that in mind, Bergh and Södersten developed the Mandometer, whose name comes from the Latin for “I eat.” It’s a plate that rests on a small digital scale attached to a small computer monitor. Before each meal or snack, you input the type of meal you’re eating into the computer, along with an assessment of how hungry you are.

As you eat, the computer then tracks how quickly the food goes off the plate and alerts you to slow down if the plate is emptying too fast. You’re also prompted every so often to evaluate how full you feel. Once you get used to dining at a normal pace and listening to your stomach’s signals – a process that takes about three to four months – you feel full sooner and eat less. Bergh and Södersten say that psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and obsession with food disappear on their own once eating patterns stabilize.

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