Could techno fork ‘Hapifork’ tackle obesity problem?

Copyright: Reuters

Copyright: Reuters

Lord Alan Sugar is not known for his ongoing weight problems, in fact, the serial entrepreneur looks quite the health nut as he approaches his 66th birthday. But back in 2011, when he released a book on his rantings and revelations called The Way I See It, and dubbed a chapter “The Tiny Fork Diet”, in which he grizzles: “It occurred to me that if I ate more slowly, then I might feel full up sooner. So I [started] using a standard knife to cut up the food and a small fork to eat it. It certainly did slow me down – you simply can’t get the same quantity of food in your gob… And I did have that full-up feeling when there was a third of the meal still on the plate – so it works!”

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The idea of using a fork to cut down on the amount of fork you eat gathered popularity and thanks to a French book, published last year, called Dîne Avec Une Fourchette: the idea of both being that if you only eat food with a fork, and prepared with a fork, you simply cannot eat fattening foods such as ice cream, pate, hummus, tarmasalata, cheese spread, crepes, waffles, mayonnaise, butter, margarine, ketchup, mustard, sausage, hot dogs, quiche, pies, deli meats, red or white meat, soft cheese, the list literally goes on. And remember, the way the diet works is that you can only use a fork, so no knife for cutting. For more tips see www.forkitdiet.com.

However, as usual, a good idea will eventually get a tech make over, and as such, the fork it diet and the revelation by Lord Sugar has captured the interest of boffins at the CES electronics and technology fair in Las Vegas, and we can now formally introduce you to the ‘Hapifork’, a “smart” cutlery item that tracks how often you put fork to face and vibrates if you’re eating too quickly (which can, the makers say, cause weight gain and digestive problems).

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You can also plug the Hapifork into your smartphone to monitor your progress. And if you think this is one invention that will never get off the ground, let alone set a place at our dinner tables, think again, as it is due to go on sale in April in the US, with a RRP of $99.

The Hapifork is the brainchild of inventor and all round geek whizz kid – Jacques Lepine, who must surely have received a phone call from Lord Sugar by now.

The Hapifork works by recording every time you bring food from your plate to your mouth with your fork. It measures:

  • How long it took to eat your meal.
  • The amount of “fork servings” taken per minute.
  • Intervals between “fork servings”.

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This information is then uploaded via USB to your Online Dashboard to track your progress. The HAPIfork also comes with the HAPILABS app plus a coaching program to help improve your eating behavior.

The makers behind the Hapifork say that it is important to eat slowly because since 2002, a series of scientific studies highlighted the negative effects related to eating meals too quickly:

  • Weight gain: as during the meal, satiety is felt after about 20 minutes. The faster you eat, the more you eat.
  • Digestive problems: food that is eaten too quickly is often poorly chewed. The work of the digestive tract is made more difficult.
  • Gastric reflux: several studies have shown that the faster one eats, the more likely the possibility of gastric reflux.
  • Postoperative complications: eating more slowly lessens the stress on weakened tissues.

Really, you gotta love The Sugar haven’t you for sensible advice?

For more information on the Hapifork, or to pre-order, visit Hapilabs.

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