Talking Plate To Be Trialled By NHS To Tackle Obesity Crisis

Talking Plate

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 21/11/11 15:27 Updated: 21/11/11 16:05

A talking plate that warns people to eat more slowly when they wolf down their food is to be used in an NHS initiative, to help fight obesity.

The £1,500 Mandometer monitors how much food is leaving the plate and politely reminds those who scoff too fast to "Please eat more slowly".

The Swedish device is comprised of a scale, which is placed under the plate, and a small computer screen that shows a graphic of the food gradually disappearing as the meal is eaten.

A red line on the screen indicates the actual speed of eating while a blue line acts as a benchmark to show a healthy rate. The faster the user eats, the further the red line angles away from the blue one.

When the line deviates too much, a computer voice reminds them to slow down.

The device also encourages users to think about when they have had enough by flashing messages on the screen asking, "Are you feeling full yet?"

The initiative, by Bristol University in conjunction with GPs and nurses, will target around 600 families with at least one obese parent and child.

A smaller study will take place at the Biomedical Research Unit of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, with a further 12 obese adults and children who carry a mutation of a gene linked to the brain's ability to recognise feeling full.

Lead researcher, Julian Hamilton-Shield, said: "It will be a powerful tool to help families retrain their eating habits."

Per Soderson, who helped to devise the plate, said: "Telling an obese person to diet will not work because dieting slows down the metabolism in preparation for starvation.

"More important is the speed you eat and to recognise when you're full."

If you have trouble knowing when to say no, follow our guide to keeping your diet on track...

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  • How To Stay Motivated On Your Diet

    Expert tips from <a href="" target="_hplink">Slimming World</a> obesity expert, <strong>Dr. James Stubbs</strong> and Dr. Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan from <a href="" target="_hplink">The Weight Loss Doctor</a>.

  • Get Support

    "Slimmers who join with like-minded people with similar goals and problems - whether online, in social media networks or in a local community group - are more likely to stay motivated to succeed. They benefit from sharing experiences and taking inspiration and motivation from fellow slimmers to help them lose weight. Getting support is crucial to having the tools to cope with small weight gains and stay on track without giving up," says Dr James Stubbs, obesity researcher for <a href="" target="_hplink">Slimming World</a>.

  • Don't Get Too Hung Up On Weight

    "Don't get too hung up on your weight measurements. A common cause of giving up on losing weight, is when people look at the scales and get disappointed with their progress. This all ties in with having deadlines and wanting to lose weight urgently. The scales don't always show the results of your efforts straight away. Weight also goes up and down due to other factors like hormones, hydration and your last meal. Don't read too much into one weight measurement. You should be looking at the overall trend. If you are sure that you are doing the right things (eating less and being more active) then the results will definitely come. Be patient," says Dr. Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan, from <a href="" target="_hplink">The Weight Loss Doctor</a>.

  • Don't Expect Perfection

    "For some reason, when people try and lose weight, they have this belief that they need to stick to their new regime perfectly. This is part of the diet mentality and it is very harmful. It means that people who have a "bad day" often feel like they have failed. And in the worst scenario it makes them want to give up. But this expectation of perfection is totally unrealistic. You should expect to have "bad days". Don't beat yourself up over them. A normal life includes days when you eat a bit more and days when you eat a bit less. The main thing to remember is that after days when you have a bit more, you need to get back on track as soon as possible," says Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan, from <a href="" target="_hplink">The Weight Loss Doctor</a>.

  • Do It Yourself

    "Do it for yourself: Being told to lose weight by someone else scores low as a motivator. Although being told by your GP that your health is at risk can be the shock that sets you on the weight loss road. "Setting your own target weight and losing weight for the reasons that suit you, when they suit you makes all the difference to success. Getting praise from fellow slimmers or colleagues for weight loss achievements is a great boost to help stay on track because it gives a sense of achievement, so spurring you on," says Dr James Stubbs, obesity researcher at <a href="" target="_hplink">Slimming World</a>.

  • Make It Easy For Yourself

    "Make things as easy as possible. It might not sound like a revelation, but the more unpleasant you make your weight loss programme, the less likely you will stick to it. This seems like common sense but so many people still believe in the "no pain - no gain" approach. This might work for a few people, but for most of us, we are much more likely to succeed if we make things as pain-free as possible. How do you do that? Make small changes each week that you know you can maintain. Instead of setting the bar too high and failing, if you make small changes each week, you get a track record of success behind you," says Dr. Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan from <a href="" target="_hplink">The Weight Loss Doctor</a>.